Washington Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill for Tribal Casinos

Washington Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill for Tribal Casinos

While the US casino industry is facing an unprecedented crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, tribal casinos in Washington have a reason to rejoice. Gov. Jay Inslee signed a sports betting bill into law on Wednesday that gives tribes exclusive control over the state’s sports wagering operations.

New gaming compacts between state and tribes

According to Inslee, the bill will help the state and tribes to create new gaming compacts. He said,

“This will allow people to participate in a new gaming activity that is safe and well-regulated by the tribes.”

Washington Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill for Tribal Casinos

The bill passed through both houses of the legislature easily. Rebecca Kaldor, the executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association thanked the governor for his support.

She said that the revenue generated with gaming is crucial for their communities. She acknowledged the havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic and noted,

“As we recover from this crisis, the addition of this amenity will help tribal governments fund the essential services their members will need to get back up on their feet.”

The measure will be taking effect immediately as it includes an emergency clause. The Legislature previously asked for the emergency clause to be scrapped. However, if that happened, the state would be forced to hold a referendum which would need 60% support to pass.

A boon for the tribes

According to the supporters of the bill, sports betting is already popular in the state. Legalizing the activity will help in protecting the consumers and tribal casinos are the best option for the state in this regard. Maverick Gaming, a Nevada-based operator that operates 19 of the 44 commercial card-rooms in the state objected to the bill. It said that the bill provided an undue monopoly to the tribes and hurts the prospects of commercial card-rooms.

Maverick’s chief executive Eric Persson criticized the plan during a public hearing suggesting that the state is overlooking a $50 million tax revenue than it could earn by providing broader sports betting legislation. He also said that the emergency clause was invoked only because the lawmakers were aware that the bill will never sail through in a public referendum.

Washington has already legalized sports betting with a focus on college as well as professional sports. However, betting on state-based teams is not allowed. The bets can only be placed in tribal casinos.

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.