Maverick Gaming Gears Up Against Washington’s Pro-Tribal Bill

Maverick Gaming Gears Up Against Washington’s Pro-Tribal Bill

Cardroom owner Maverick Gaming is ready to lead on the frontlines of war with Washington. The company recently pledged to spend $20 million to $30 million in an effort to block a state bill that will authorize sports betting only at the tribal casinos.

Maverick’s interest in the Washington market

The Nevada-based company sees potential in the state of Washington. In the last year alone, it has acquired 19 of the 44 card rooms in the state in an effort to create a significant presence in the region. It may also plan to buy some more properties to become an even bigger commercial player. The company also supported recent unionizing efforts at its properties, letting its employees join Teamsters.

Maverick Gaming Gears Up Against Washington’s Pro-Tribal Bill

One of the reasons behind Maverick’s enthusiasm with the state was its hopes that lawmakers would bring broad-based sports betting legalization bill. Unfortunately for them, the HB 2368 is a tribal-only bill, which easily moved through the House last month.

A collision with the tribes

Maverick owner and CEO Eric Persson is a gaming industry veteran from Washington and hails from the Shoalwater Bay tribe. His recent efforts to neutralize the bill creates troubles with his own tribal interests. A similar situation is heating up in Oklahoma where Cherokee Nation member and Gov. Stitt is bidding against his own tribe and asking them to pay a higher share of their gross GGR or expect commercial casinos.

Speaking during a legislative hearing last Friday, he said that the new house bill would create a tax-free monopoly for the state’s tribes, which will not be in the interests of the citizens. He later told the media that the bill was nothing but a “pure power grab” attempt that would deny a public vote on the issue. He added that the company would spend anywhere between $20 million to $30 million to protect its 2,200 employees. He noted, “Nothing’s off the table. We’ll do everything we can. Litigation, lobbying, TV ads, whatever it takes to get the message out there.”

The company’s urgency in this situation is well-founded because the bill passed the House last month with an emergency amendment. As soon as the bill reaches Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, it could immediately be signed into law. This could thwart the company’s attempts to gain any percentage of the Washington sports betting market. Persson noted that the emergency vote bypasses a legal public referendum, which demands a 60% approval vote.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.