On Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law, legalizing sports betting in the state. With the passage, the state can enter into new gaming compacts with Indian tribes to include the new wagering option. The bill was easily able to pass within the state House and Senate.
Early on, an emergency clause was added to the bill and will take effect immediately. Legislature quickly rejected the idea of removing the clause, as it would have subjected the measure to a referendum that would require 60% approval to pass into law.
Sports betting was already taking place in the state in an unregulated manner and by adding the emergency clause, players would be protected early on. Supporters of the option felt that the tribal casinos were the logical choice for the new industry.
The bill was able to pass into law despite their being some objection that it provided a sports betting monopoly to the Indian tribes of the state and was harmful to the smaller card room casinos. Those in opposition included Maverick Gaming, a group based in Nevada that recently purchased 19 of the card-rooms in Washington State. Maverick Gaming felt that they should be able to offer sports betting as well.
According to Q13 Fox…
Rebecca Kaldor, the Washington Indian Gaming Association Executive Director, thanked the governor for being supportive of the bill. According to Kaldor, the revenues generated from the new industry will be critical for their communities.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the tribal communities and governments. As they work to recover from the crisis, the addition of sports betting will help fund essential services that tribal members need to get back on their feet.