Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Passes Sports Betting Bill

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Passes Sports Betting Bill

The governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, signed a sports betting bill for the state on Wednesday that gives tribal casinos exclusive rights over the wagering sector.

Inslee expects new gaming compacts

While signing the bill, Inslee said that the bill will allow the Indian tribes and states to enter into new gaming compacts that include sports betting. The bill faced little friction in both houses of the legislature. Inslee said,

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

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Passes Sports Betting Bill

Rebecca Kaldor, the executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association thanked Inslee for his support on the bill. She said, that the revenue generated by the tribal gaming funds is an essential need for their community. She also talked about the devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the government and tribal communities. Kaldor said,

“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.”

What does the bill include?

The bill has a controversial emergency clause because of which it will take effect immediately. The opponents of the bill, like Nevada-based Maverick Gaming, which runs 19 card rooms in the state, suggests that the clause was added to ensure that the tribes retain a monopoly on the sports betting market. The company believes that creating ab broader market would have helped the state earn more revenue but it decided to do otherwise. Maverick’s chief Eric Persson said that the state will lose about $50 million tax revenues by not allowing its 44 card rooms access to sports betting.

Had the legislature not included the emergency clause, the bill could have been subjected to a statewide referendum that would have required 60% support to pass.

It is apparent that the legislature was not interested in a referendum. The bill’s supporters suggest that sports betting is already popular in Washington and legalizing it would help in protecting consumers. They also said that tribal casinos are the most logical choice for gambling expansion in the state. Note that even though sports gambling has been prevalent in the state, it has been illegal.

The athletic wagering bill will allow punters to bet on both collegiate and professional sports, barring teams based in the state. Indian casinos, which have exclusive rights to sports betting, are spread across the state as well.

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