Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe, State Settle Arizona Sports Betting Lawsuit

Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe, State Settle Arizona Sports Betting Lawsuit
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The yearlong litigation between the Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe, the Arizona Department of Gaming and the Arizona Governor’s Office has officially been settled.

The three parties officially agreed to a settlement in the tribe’s suit over HB 2772 —  which legalized mobile and retail Arizona sportsbooks, along with the 2021 gaming compact that came thereafter — on July 27, with Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Ryan signing off on the settlement Monday.

In his minute entry from Monday, Ryan approved the parties’ request to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, clearing the way for the Northern Arizona tribe to offer expanded Class III gaming activities, such as sports wagering, fantasy sports contests and live table games.

“It is ordered approving the parties’ Joint Stipulation to Dismiss with Prejudice filed July 26, 2022, all in accordance with the formal writer Order Re the Parties’ Joint Stipulation to Dismiss with Prejudice signed by the Court July 27, 2022, and filed (entered) by the Clerk July 29, 2022,” Ryan wrote.

The suit was filed in August 2021, a judge ruled against the YPIT on Labor Day, and the YPIT filled an amended complaint in late September 2021. Since then, the case has had five extensions as the sides worked on a settlement.

Tribes that are part of the 2021 gaming compact are allowed to conduct retail sports betting on tribal land. But only tribes and professional sports teams licensed by the state can have Arizona sports betting apps.

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What the Arizona Sports Betting Settlement Entails

Under the settlement, each party will pay its own attorneys’ fees and costs, along with allowing the YPIT to pay for its newfound gaming options from its net win.  

Bryan Newland, the assistant secretary of Indian Affairs for the Department of the Interior, wrote in the Federal Register summary that the parties’ request for a settlement fit the stipulations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, meaning there were no grounds for the regulatory agency to object to the parties’ settlement.

The effective date of the amendment is July 26.

“The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe and the State of Arizona agreed to the Compact and then to the Amendment,” Newland wrote. “The Compact permits various types of gaming, including video devices, house banked card games, off-track pari-mutuel wagering, dealer controlled electronic games, sports wagering, fantasy sports contests, and live table games on the Tribe's Indian lands. The Compact includes provisions requiring the Tribe to pay the State from the Tribe's net win in exchange for substantial exclusivity in the State and for regulatory costs. The Compact provides that the Tribe will have the responsibility to administer and enforce regulatory requirements. The Amendment clarifies certain definitions and provisions in the Compact. The Compact and the Amendment are approved.”

Both the Arizona Department of Gaming and Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe declined BetArizona.com’s request for comment on the settlement. BetArizona.com has requested a copy of the settlement from the ADG.

Derrick Beetso, the director of Arizona State University’s College of Law Indian Gaming and Self Governance Programs, said Monday’s decision paves the way for sports betting to continue unabated.

That, Beetso said, is a win-win for all sides, as it prevents the headache that ongoing litigation posed, while giving operators and their sports team and tribal partners peace of mind as well.  

“Without reviewing the amended compact, the Federal Register notice states that it permits various types of Class III gaming on the Tribe's Indian lands; includes payment obligations for the Tribe in exchange for ‘substantial exclusivity in the State and for regulatory costs;’ and ‘clarifies certain definitions and provisions in the Compact’,” Beetso said in an email to BetArizona.com.

“All in all, the resolution of this litigation means that Arizona's sports betting can continue with more certainty, at least with respect to the role Indian tribal governments play both under IGRA and within the State's gaming framework.”

The state’s second football season with legalized betting kicks off later this month, and BetArizona.com has plenty of Arizona sportsbook promos.



Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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