Approval by the Washington House would legalize sports betting in the state.

  • A sports betting bill in Washington needs one final House vote to make it to the Governor.
  • The bill would legalize gambling on both professional and collegiate sports at Tribal casinos, only prohibiting Washington colleges from bets.
  • Online sports betting would also become legal but confined to Tribal lands.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee voted in favor of WA HB 2638 to legalize sports betting in Washington.

The vote came down to 25 YEAS and 7 NAYS which was more than enough to move it to the House Rules Committee for one final vote. Should it pass, the sports betting bill will find its way to the desk of Governor Jay Inslee for his signature.

The Bills That Would Legalize Sports Betting In Washington

While WA HB 2638 is the bill in the spotlight, it’s a companion bill to WA SB 6394.

The Senate bill has been referred to the Committee of Ways & Means. It would legalize sports betting in Washington through the Tribal-State gaming compacts. The fate of the Senate bill’s continued traction rests on how WA HB 2638 fares.

The two bills only include Tribal businesses to expand into the Washington sports betting market. Other card rooms in the state that wish to be included in the bills spoke out in opposition during the hearing. They claimed they could bring in as much as $50 million in annual revenue from sports betting if given the chance to do so.

Before the vote they told lawmakers that the bills were moving too quickly through the House, allowing no time for any amendments to be made that would include their businesses to run legal sports betting operations. Despite the opposing remarks, the state still voted favorably to keep the current bill moving.

The sponsor of WA HB 2638, Representative Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds) believes that this final House vote is more a formality than anything else as the bill has been so well received by the Legislature.

“I’m hoping to get this moving over to the Senate on a relatively fast timeline,” said Peterson after the hearing. “We’ll see if that happens, but with a very bi-partisan vote that we just had this evening, I think that helps. I’m hoping that we can get it on to the floor next week. I still need to talk to a lot of people about it and make everybody comfortable with it, because it is an expansion of gambling.”

What Will The Outcome Be?

Once the House puts their final votes in on WA HB 2638, the Senate bill can move forward for voting on the floor. If both bills receive 60% of the vote to legalize sports betting, the Governor will have bills to either sign into law or veto by the Spring.

The legislative session in Washington concludes on March 13. Sports bettors will know by then whether or not they will see legal gambling on sports in the Evergreen State for 2020.

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