The Arizona State Senate last week passed HB 2772 (fantasy sports betting; event wagering) by a vote of 23-6. That margin of victory, combined with a vote of 48-12 in the House of Representatives, was strongly supported by the Havasupai Tribe. The Governor signed the bill on April 15.
The bill is part of a negotiated “package” of gaming modernizations, which includes amendments to the current State Tribal Gaming Compact negotiated by tribes and the State. HB 2772 establishes the Compact Trust Fund, which will provide significant revenues to rural tribes with no gaming facilities. The Havasupai Tribe was a key architect of the Compact Trust Fund.
“The bill’s passage is welcome news to the Havasupai Tribe,” said Chairwoman Evangeline Kissoon. “We were an active participant in more than four years of negotiations between Arizona’s Indian tribes and the State of Arizona. The passage of HB 2772 helps tribes like Havasupai benefit from gaming even without a physical gaming facility.”
The Havasupai Reservation is located on some of the most beautiful land anywhere in the world, but it is also geographically isolated and not conducive to operation of a gaming facility.
The “initial term” of the Compact is the remainder of the term under the tribe’s existing compact (through 2026), plus 10 years. After the “initial term,” there is the “first renewal term” wherein the Compact will be automatically extended for an additional 10 years, unless the State or the tribe notify the other that they do not intend to renew.
Havasupai’s compact will go into effect when the following events occur:
- It is executed by the State and the tribe (Havasupai has already done so and the State should do so imminently);
- It is approved or “deemed approved” by the Secretary of the Interior; and
- The Secretary’s approval is published in the Federal Register.
Funds from the compact trust fund will positively impact a variety of tribal programs and services. With an anticipated $500,000 annual payment, these will include youth and elder services, social services programs, protection of natural resources, as well as infrastructure and emergency operations.
“Revenues from tribal gaming have positively impacted not only the tribal communities, but the State of Arizona as well. We appreciate the legislators that supported these changes that will provide additional resources to those in need throughout the state and in Indian Country,” said Chairwoman Kissoon.
The Havasupai Tribe thanks Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, Rep. Myron Tsosie and Rep. Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren from District 7 and Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, who ensured that the Senate Democratic Caucus was supportive of Arizona tribes during the debate on HB 2772.