Washington to Hold Second Sports Betting Hearing This Week

  • SB 6277 and SB 6394 will be discussed on Thursday
  • Tribal casinos, racetracks, and card rooms want in on the new betting industry
  • Lawmakers recognize that illegal sports betting is taking place in the state
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Lawmakers in Washington state will meet again on Thursday to discuss two bills that would legalize sports betting in the Evergreen State. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Latest sports betting hearing

A second sports betting hearing will take place in Washington on Thursday to discuss two bills that would legalize the industry in the state.

SB 6277 would authorize sports betting at tribal casinos, card rooms and racetracks. SB 6394 would authorize sports betting subject to gaming compact terms between Native American tribes and the state. The hearing follows a House Commerce and Gaming Committee meeting on Monday.

Testimony heard, no vote

During Monday’s meeting, the committee heard testimony on the sports betting proposals but did not vote on the matter. The bills would allow the state’s 29 Indian casinos to open sportsbooks.

Eric Persson, the owner of Maverick Gaming, wants to offer sports betting if it is legalized. Persson stated that sports betting should be open to his company as well. Maverick Gaming operates 19 private card rooms in the state.

bills would allow the state’s 29 Indian casinos to open sportsbooks

Persson believes sports betting licensing should be open to card room operators and other gambling businesses that are not operated by Indian tribes. The card room operator is pushing for mobile betting, stating it would help stop illegal wagering.

The horse racing industry also wants in on the action. During the sports betting hearing, Washington Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association representative Patrick Lepley spoke. Lepley told the Committee that sports betting is legal at racetracks in most states across the US.

The racetracks want to offer sports betting and support the tribal casinos offering it too. However, they are not in support of private card rooms offering the same services.

According to Gaming Committee Chairman Strom Peterson, the state house bill will figure out a way to enter sports betting in “a slow and steady way.” Peterson commented on illegal betting and how it is happening in Washington state, and suggested that it will only continue to grow.

Tribal support

Several leaders of Indian tribes in the state were on hand during the Monday meeting to show their support of legalized sports betting.

David Bean, chairman of the Puyallup Tribe, stated that revenue from gaming allows the tribes to offer services to members. He went on to say that it provides jobs for tribal members and non-Indians.

Bean pointed out that the Indian casinos are well-suited to offer additional gambling services. The chairman says the Indian casinos are a perfect fit for sports betting, stating:

You know us. You trust us. This is our home.”

Introduced in 2020

Sports betting legislation was introduced by lawmakers in Washington state earlier this month.

As reported on VSO News, Senate Bill 6277, dubbed the Sports Wagering Act, was placed in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. House Bill 2478, is a companion bill to the Senate measure. This bill is in the House Commerce and Gaming Committee.

The Sports Wagering Act will allow sports betting at retail locations, including card rooms, tribal casinos, and racetracks. It would allow for online wagering as well.

Each license holder and tribal casino would be allowed one sports betting skin. The measure prohibits bets on in-state esports and college games.

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