Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe Betting Lawsuit Settlement Reached

Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe Betting Lawsuit Settlement Reached

A lawsuit that began almost a full year ago between the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, and Arizona Department of Gaming Director Ted Vogt finally reached a settlement. The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe filed the lawsuit claiming the Arizona sports betting bill passed last year was unconstitutional and had been illegally passed.

Original Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe Betting Lawsuit

The Tribe argued the sports betting legislation directly conflicted with the tribal gaming compacts, which limited gambling activities to tribal-owned land. The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe argued that allowing non-tribal entities to benefit from gambling would “…result in direct, substantial and uncertain injury” by “…reducing critical revenue received from such exclusivity”. 

HB 2772 allowed for 20 sports betting licenses, with only half going to Arizona’s federally recognized Indian Tribes. This meant 11 of the state’s 21 tribes would be on the outside looking in when it came to offering online sports betting.

The first lawsuit asked the court to prevent the Arizona Department of Gaming from issuing sports betting licenses which, had it been successful, would have completely halted wagering in the state altogether. 

The injunction was dismissed, but both parties then filed joint motions to stay the case for 60 days. Five extensions later and the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe struck an agreement with Gov. Ducey and Vogt.

What’s in the Arizona and Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe Betting Settlement

The settlement between the state and the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe expanded the Class III gaming types permitted on reservation land in an amended gaming compact. The Department of Interior signed off on the settlement, stating:
“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 Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe wasn’t the only Arizona Indian Tribe impacted by the amended and restated gaming compact. Five extensions were given for Arizona and the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe to reach an out-of-court settlement because the amended compact had to be accepted and signed by the other Arizona Tribes.

Part of the settlement between the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe and Arizona also paves the way for the Tribe to begin construction on a third casino.

Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe Casinos

The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe currently operates two casinos with a third in the works. The two casinos make up a combined space of 24,000-square-feet.

Bucky’s Casino is located in Prescott, about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix. The casino is open 24 hours daily and includes
525 gaming machines along with 16 game tables. Yavapai Casino is also located in Prescott and is open 24 hours daily. The casino offers over 165 slots.

The new casino is expected to be an $80 million project that will create a 50,000-square-foot casino along with an 80-room hotel. An opening date is not planned.

Author: Maureen Cook