United States: Tribes, Ducey Oppose Bill To Legalize Sports Betting

Arizona's Native American tribes overwhelmingly oppose a legislative effort to legalize sports betting in Arizona.

They may have an ally in Gov. Doug Ducey.

Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to advance a bill to bring sports gambling to bars and private clubs over the objections of representatives from tribal governments across the state, who argued that sports betting should be discussed with the Governor's Office.

"The nation supports legal sports betting in the state of Arizona," said Larry Jackson, vice chairman of the Yavapai-Apache Nation. "But the nation firmly believes that this bill is not the appropriate mechanism for such legislation."

The Navajo Nation was the only tribe supportive of legislation brought by Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City. His SB 1163 would give tribes the exclusive right to operate sports betting machines in their existing casinos, but also remotely at bars and clubs. Those machines, unlike those in casinos, would be taxed at 6.75 percent.

Representatives from the Tohono O'odham Nation, the San Carlos Apache Nation and the Yavapai-Apache Nation, and the Arizona Indian Gaming Association, criticized Borrelli for failing to consult with tribes other than the Navajo. Rather than resolve the matter legislatively, tribal leaders urged senators to table Borrelli's proposal and let tribes negotiate with Ducey.

Ducey agrees, and told the Arizona Capitol Times that sports betting and other technological advances necessitate renegotiations of agreements between tribal leaders and state officials that grant Native American tribes exclusive rights to operate casinos in Arizona.

"What I'm going to want to do is bring all the constituencies together and make sure we do this right and do it in a way that maximizes the opportunity for the state," Ducey said on February 27.

The Governor's Office is already engaged in negotiations with tribal leaders to renew, and potentially overhaul, the gaming compacts with certain tribes covering Class 3 games. Sports betting falls under the same category, so it should be subject to the same negotiations regarding the compacts, according to Steve Titla, an attorney for the San Carlos Apache Nation.

A "poison pill" provision, which could nullify the compacts between the tribes and the state, can be triggered if either tribes or the state allege the compact has been violated.

Borrelli's bill seeks to quash those concerns by giving tribes exclusive domain over sports betting. Steve Hart, a gaming attorney representing the Navajo Nation, said SB 1163 would have no effect on gaming compact negotiations.

"This bill makes tribes that sole operator of sports betting in this state. It doesn't take away from their exclusivity, it furthers their exclusivity," Hart told the Appropriations Committee.

While some Democrats urged Borrelli to take a wait-and-see approach and let tribes work with Ducey on sports betting, Borrelli and representatives from the Navajo Nation said time is of the essence. Navajo leaders testified that the likely closure of the Navajo Generating Station, an economic driver for the Navajo, warrants a need for new revenue generators like sports betting.

Borrelli accused some tribal leaders of dragging their feet to try to defeat his legislation. The longer Arizona waits to act on sports betting, the less revenue will come to bear from bettors who will take their wagers elsewhere, he said.

It's time for Arizona to set up rules for a new industry, Borrelli said, adding that he has little faith in the tribes to swiftly negotiate a resolution with the governor.

"They keep saying this needs to be negotiated in the compact. They've been negotiating the compact for the last two and a half years, and nothings come from that," he said.

Borrelli noted that there's no mandate in SB 1163 for tribes to operate sports betting machines. And a provision added to the bill makes sports betting conditional on the approval of an agreement between the governor and tribes operating casinos and Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties that stipulates sports betting doesn't violate the compacts.

That assurance was not enough for most tribes, who argued they're not yet certain of what benefit, if any, sports betting will provide to their communities. Some tribal leaders testified that they don't support allowing sports betting outside of casinos, a key provision of Borrelli's bill.

Verlon Jose, treasurer of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association and vice chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, said Borrelli might understand those concerns if he'd spoken with more tribal leaders.

Jose testified that he had no idea what Borrelli even looked like before the hearing, and urged the Navajo Nation to consider the interests of all tribes.

"It's a poorly written bill. It's bad for tribes. It's bad for Arizona. And it threatens the future of gaming compacts," Jose said. "We look to our brothers in the Navajo Nation and others to sit down and have some discussions... You have to respect the tribes and their processes."

In supporting the bill, Republicans said that the time to act is now.

"This is going to happen, and we have an obligation to make sure it's managed in the correct way," said Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale.

Originally published by Arizona Capitol Times

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions