Tribe sued sports betting without a reservation | Navajo Hopi observer
PHOENIX – One of the state’s Native American tribes is suing the suspension of off-reservation sports betting just weeks ahead of schedule.
The lawsuit, filed by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe in the Maricopa County Superior Court, alleges that state lawmakers have no right to allow sports franchises to accept bets on professional and college games. Attorney Luis Ochoa said this was because Arizonans voted in 2002 and voted to limit certain types of gambling to reservations.
Another measure on the ballot in 2002 to allow gambling outside of the reservation was rejected with 80 percent of the vote against it.
Ochoa does not deny that other tribal states have signed agreements with the state to allow such games outside of the reservation. In return, these tribes were given the right not only to accept similar sports betting in their gaming establishments, but also to expand the number and types of Class III games – things like poker and slot machines – that they can offer in their casinos.
But he said this still does not go around the 2002 measure, which he believes is subject to the Voter Protection Act. This constitutional provision allows the legislature to change what was approved in the vote only if it “serves the purpose of the original law”.
“Not only does HBE 2772 fail to serve the purpose of Proposition 202 to grant Arizona-based Indian tribes the exclusive right to participate in games of chance that are classified as Class III games under the Indian Gambling Regulation Act, it is also directly objectionable on Indian land contradicts the intent of Proposition 202, ” Ochoa said in his court records.
And if a court doesn’t accept that theory, Ochoa has several others, including unconstitutional discrimination against Native Americans. He said the rules of the game are much more favorable to the sports franchises than to the tribes.
That first legal test is coming Friday: Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith has scheduled an emergency hearing on Ochoa’s motion to suspend all new games immediately until legal issues are resolved.