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Judge refused to block new Arizona sports betting law

Monday evening's decision from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith means sports betting can start Thursday barring a successful appeal.

PHOENIX — A judge is refusing to block a new Arizona law allowing sports gambling to be run by professional sports teams in a decision that will allow the major gambling expansion to start as planned later this week. 

Monday evening's decision from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith means sports betting can start Thursday barring a successful appeal.

The ruling came just hours after he held an unusual Labor Day hearing on the request filed by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe. 

Smith rejected all the tribe's arguments, including that the new sports betting law violated the state constitution.

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The tribe didn’t sign a revised gambling compact with the state earlier this year, then filed a lawsuit alleging that the new state law is unconstitutional and left some rural tribes in the cold by excluding them from negotiations hammering out the legislation.

The suit asked the court to prevent the Department of Gaming from issuing sportsbook licenses and allowing sports betting. 

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