Washington Sports Betting Bill Awaits Senate Vote Next

Washington Sports Betting Bill Awaits Senate Vote Next

Washington House passed the sports betting bill with unprecedented support last week, suggesting an easier road for legalization in the state. Tribal casinos now look forward to the Senate vote.

New hope for tribal casinos

The new bill will allow tribal casinos located in Washington to negotiate new compacts with the state that will add sports betting in their premises. This will also make provisions for a new revenue source for the state Gambling Commission whose peers are benefitting from sports betting money.  According to Democratic Rep. Marcus Riccelli, the state has to be mindful of what other states are doing and where the nation is headed.

Washington Sports Betting Bill Awaits Senate Vote Next

The existing state laws demand at least 60% votes in favor to make changes to gambling legislation. However, Washington’s House figures exceed the requirement as it passed 83-to-14. While Representatives like Riccelli support sports betting, his fellow Democrat from Spokane disagrees. According to Rep. Timm Ormsby, people already have a lot of ways to lose their money in games of chance. However, he said that he is okay with the fact that gambling is one of the few lucrative options available to tribes.

A new amendment to the bill

The lawmakers have added a new amendment to the bill that would allow it to come into effect as soon as it is signed into law. Moreover, the Gambling Commission is expected to get a $6 million loan from the General Fund of Washington to take enforcement actions against illegal sports betting operations. The Commission has to repay the money to the General Fund by mid-2021 along with gambling proceeds that will be deposited into the Gambling Revolving Account.

It is important to note that they have not agreed to expand sports betting outside of tribal casinos into racetracks and privately owned card rooms. A House committee rejected the notion and said that it was too much, going too fast. However, Rep. Brandon Vick suggests that the House should have been given a chance to at least debate if the other venues should get an opportunity to allow sports betting within their premises.

He also said that there was no reason why the law should have been brought into immediate effect. It could have easily followed the typical 90-day course after the session was over. He said that this was done in order to ensure that a voter referendum doesn’t reverse the decision in the meanwhile.

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