Tribal-Only Sports Betting Faces Opposition in Washington

A little over a week ago, Washington State made yet another advancement to its sports betting bill – this came after the state made one of the biggest moves paving the way for the future of the industry. At the time the bill, ESHB 2638, was advanced to Washington’s Senate Committee on Labor & Committee it was already facing a lot of opposition. Things have not gotten any better as the opponents of the proposed tribal-only sportsbook law are now promising to double down on their efforts to fight the sports betting bill.

Perhaps the most notable move in this regard was by Eric Persson, the chief executive officer of the Nevada-based Maverick Gaming LLC who during the Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing stated that he would be investing millions of dollars to prevent the sports betting bill from becoming law.

“We’re prepared to spend $20-$30 million this election cycle to protect our 2,200 employees in the state and bring this matter to the attention of all Washingtonians to educate them about what’s gone on. Nothing’s off the table. We’ll do everything we can. Litigation, lobbying, TV ads, whatever it takes to get the message out there.”

Eric Persson, the CEO of Maverick Gaming LLC.

The CEO wants the gambling opportunities to be available to all the state’s casino operators. These will include all of the 19 in-state casino facilities that Maverick Gaming acquired over the past several months. He went on to point out his opinion that the tribal-only sports betting bill was purely dictatorial since it would effectively give the tribal gaming operators monopoly over sports betting in the state.

The Battle for Betting in Washington

For decades, only the tribal casinos were able to operate legal betting in the state of Washington which is known for having the most stringent gaming laws in the country. However, due to the massive growth of the gambling sector, the state has had to reconsider its stance on the matter hence the conceptualization of the sports betting bill.

Companies like Maverick have seen this as an opportunity to venture out and capitalize on that state’s gambling market. Both the tribes and Maverick have already spent huge sums of money to lobby and campaign in a bid to tip the scales in their favor.

Maverick will be even going a step further this year by spending $1 million into a political action committee that it controls. This committee will be focusing on both House and Senate committee campaigns. While it might be too early to tell how things will turn out in the end, it is inevitable that the process might take a hit and this will, in turn, lead to a delay in the arrival of sports betting to the state.

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