Good news for tribal casinos
A sports betting bill that would allow tribal casinos in Washington state to offer sports betting services is one step closer to fruition after being approved by the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee on Monday.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee will now review the bill during a hearing on Friday. House Bill 2638 has moved forward quickly this year, having only been introduced last month.
House and Senate approval
HB 2638 was approved by the state House earlier this month with a vote of 83 to 14 before being passed on to the Senate for review. The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee approved the measure without amendment with a vote of 5 to 2.
It was suggested that sports betting be allowed at the card rooms in the state, of which there are 44 in operation. It was also suggested that sports wagering at horse racing tracks should be allowed.
Senate Labor and Commerce Committee approved the measure without amendment with a vote of 5 to 2
During Monday’s hearing, representatives of Maverick Gaming LLC were in attendance. The operator has more than a dozen card rooms in Washington state. Representatives testified to have sports betting approved within their venues.
Pushing for a bill amendment
Maverick Gaming reps spoke to lawmakers about how the company provides jobs to the region. According to the operator, the high-paying employment positions would be preserved and job growth would occur with the addition of sports betting.
Maverick Gaming has been pushing for card rooms to be included in the sports betting expansion for the state. The company was also present at the House hearing earlier this month. Maverick Gaming was seeking inclusion in House Bill 2638.
Despite testimony from Maverick Gaming representatives, the committee decided not to amend the bill to allow card rooms or the race tracks the opportunity to offer the betting service.
Moving forward with support
During Monday’s committee hearing, one lawmaker spoke about why the bill should be supported. Committee Chair Sen. Karen Keiser commented that gambling creates a threat of corruption and addiction. With legislation and regulation, illegal operations would be thwarted.
Sen. Karen Keiser said: “This limited first step toward allowing sports betting in Washington will begin to combat the illegal betting that is already going on.”
The bill now has the potential to move to a full Senate Floor vote before March 12, which is the end of the current legislative session. If passed by the full Senate, the bill would advance to the desk of Governor Jay Inslee. If signed, the bill would then become law.