Maverick gaming is planning to spend millions to prevent tribal only sports betting in Washington.

  • WA HB 2638 is one step closer to legalizing sports betting in Washington.
  • The sports betting bill will only allow the tribes to handle sports betting in Washington.
  • Maverick Gaming LLC plans on pouring millions of dollars to prevent the bill from passing.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Maverick Gaming LLC told lawmakers on Friday that they will fight against a tribal-only sports betting bill in Washington.

Within recent weeks, there has been a number of strides in sports betting legislation in Washington. After a recent Senate hearing, it seems that sports betting is in the cards for Washington.

But opponents of a tribal only sports betting bill claim they will fight against legalization.

Fighting For Open Sports Betting

WA HB 2638 is the sports betting bill with the most momentum. This bill will without a doubt bring Washington sports betting into reality at the pace it is moving through the legislature. However, there would be definite restrictions placed on sports betting if it does pass.

First and foremost, WA HB 2638 is a tribal sports betting bill. This means if that if it passes, only the native tribes in Washington will be able to take in sports bets. When it comes to gaming, the tribes are known to be very protective of their rights. It will be no different in Washington.

If passed, the tribes in Washington will not allow for mobile or online sports betting. In a public hearing, Maverick Gaming claims they will fight the sports betting bill for this reason.

“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,” said Eric Persson, CEO of Maverick Gaming.

Normally, any changes to gaming laws in Washington would require a statewide referendum. However, an emergency clause was attached to the sports betting bill. The emergency clause allows for lawmakers to skip out on the statewide referendum in the case of an emergency.

The emergency in question is the fact that bettors in Washington are using online offshore sportsbooks. Lawmakers claim that these sportsbooks are unsafe for Washington bettors. However, Maverick Gaming does not believe that is why they put down the emergency clause.

“We all know there’s no path to 60% if the consumer’s voice is heard,” said Persson. “That’s why they’ve invoked this clause now. It wasn’t an emergency before. Last year, when they talked about this, it wasn’t an emergency. It only became an emergency when Maverick Gaming arrived on the scene.”

Because of the seeming lack of emergency and lack of fairness of competition, Maverick Gaming will fight against WA HB 2638. But there is not much time for sports betting to pass in Washington. The legislative session ends on March 13. At this point, it seems that Washington either ends up with tribal sports betting or none at all.

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