Judge Timothy Frawley told attorneys the intent of the people committing the violations is not important in the case.
City Attorney James Sanchez stopped short of celebrating the judge's tentative rulings.
"We feel very confident that the judge will consider all of the things we have raised and we're looking forward to his decision."
STOP attorney Bradley Hertz essentially waved the white flag in court asking for a final ruling as soon as possible.
"If the ruling is as the judge hinted, and we believe there are grounds for appeal it would be an emergency writ to the Third District Court of Appeal and they've been known to act quickly in the past when there's a pre-election deadline."
STOP has until February 27th to get a measure before the City Council and on the June ballot.
The judge says he will issue a final ruling next week.
A Sacramento County Superior Court Judge has ruled against two groups that sued the Sacramento City Clerk over her decision to keep an arena-funding measure off the June ballot.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson delivered his State of the City address with the great majority of it focused on the proposed downtown arena.
Plans for a new Sacramento Kings arena are getting good reviews from new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
Groups seeking to force a public vote on a new Sacramento arena and other publicly-funded projects have sued the Sacramento City Clerk, the City, and the City Council.