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Jerome García July 26, 2023 3 min read
Washington Gambling Regulator Increases Wager Limit for Cardrooms
Although Tribal operators opposed the increase, the regulator decided to up the wager limit for cardrooms to $400
It was back in 1997 when Washington legalized house-banked cardrooms, establishments that primarily offer foods and drinks but benefit from social card games. At the time, the limit for the wagers was $25, but it has undergone several increases through 2009 when the limit hit $300. Now, a new report suggests that cardrooms in the state secured a major win, seeing the wager limit increase by another $100 to a cap of $400.
As reported by the Washington State Standard, the gambling regulator last week decided to increase the wager limit applicable for cardrooms to $400. This increase marked an important achievement for the establishments in the state as it was the first increase in the limit for more than a decade.
The regulator’s Commissioners voted on the proposal Thursday in what resulted in a 3-2 in favor of increasing the wagering limit. Commissioners Julia Patterson, Bud Sizemore and Alicia Levy, showed support for the proposal that called for raising the wagering limit for cardrooms. Sizemore said on the topic: “I think it’s very compelling that the Legislature intended for these neighborhood casinos to exist. I believe we have the rationale and legislative authority to make the decision,” while Patterson, admitted that raising the limit was a difficult decision, considering the arguments presented by the cardrooms and the opposing side, the Tribal operators.
On the other hand, Commissioners Sarah Lawson and Anders Ibsen voted against the proposal, claiming that it wasn’t in line with the original intent of the lawmakers for such establishments with Lawson saying: “If the Legislature meant for cardrooms to operate this way they would have done so,” at the recent regulatory meeting.
Increasing the Wager Limit Represents a Major Win for Cardrooms
Tribal operators opposed the increase of the wagering limit as well and pointed to a text within the regulation of cardrooms that says that such venues must be “primarily engaged in the selling of food or drink for consumption on the premises” and offer social card games as a “commercial stimulant.”
Last summer, Maverick Gaming, the company that develops, owns and operates gaming facilities, filed a petition, asking for the cardrooms’ wager limit to be increased to $500. The call came amid the rising cost-of-living crisis and increasing inflation. At the time, the company supported the increase by saying that it would help cardrooms better compete with Tribal casinos that already have a higher wager limit.
Currently, Maverick Gaming has 23 card rooms in Washington. The latest 23rd property, the company acquired last month, by taking over the All-Star Lanes & Casino in Silverdale. While Maverick Gaming operates more than half of the 38 card rooms in Washington, the latest increase in the wager limit will also help other such establishments in the state.