Although there are two sports betting bills in Washington, a shorter legislation could prevent either one from passing.

  • There are two bills just waiting to be heard in Washington but no date has been set for when that will be.
  • Due to a shorter session in the House this year, sports betting bills may not be at the top of the list for priorities.
  • Should the state legalize the activity, it is estimated they would see millions in revenue from the market.

SEATTLE – The state of Washington has two sports betting bills being presented to the Legislature but they are not expected to get any traction for 2020.

This is an election year in the state, making the session a condensed 60-day period where everything needs to be heard.

The legalization of sports betting in Washington is not high up on the list of priorities with such a small window for hearing all topics of business within the Evergreen State.

The Two Bills On The Table

While the bills have been sent to the committee, they haven’t been given a time on the docket which is a further sign that more pressing issues will take the floor first. WA SB 6277 and WA HB 2478 are both sponsored with Republican support. Members of the Senate, Ann Rivers, and Curtis King are behind WA SB 6277 with Representative Brandon Vick backing WA HB 2478.

These bills would require a 10% tax on all revenue generated by sports betting. In addition to the set tax rate, there is also a fee of $500,000 to obtain a license. Any business that is already established as a race track, tribal casino or card room would be able to apply for a license and open a sportsbook.

In total, this would give the state 45 different locations that would be allowed to open up a lounge for wagering on sporting events.

Taking a cue from the state of New York, the proposals would prohibit all wagers on collegiate teams affiliated with a school in Washington as well as any college events that happen within state lines. This was included as a stipulation after a poll done on sports betting showed that legalization was more likely to occur if the banning of collegiate events for the state was implemented.

If gambling on sports became legal in Washington, estimates show an annual tax revenue upwards of $50 million. This is all money that would go toward the economy in the Evergreen State.

Due to the 2020 session looking to be a bust to hear about these bills, 2021 is expected to see a better outcome for sports betting becoming a legal pastime in the state of Washington as there is plenty of consumer demand for it.

Tribal Bills

Although the two bills in question cover tribal establishments, the tribes in the state have created their own bills to be heard by lawmakers. These bills would make tribes the sole operators of all sports betting businesses in the state rather than allowing for anyone already in the gambling market to have access to sportsbook licenses.

Under WA SB 6394 and WA HB 2638, only tribal casinos could offer sports betting to residents. Mobile wagers would also be allowed but could only be done when bettors are on tribal land.

The only difference between the two sets of bills in terms of what they would make legal for gamblers is that tribal bills would not ban college wagers.

Sports bettors in Washington will most likely have to wait a bit longer to be able to see legal sports betting in their state. However, while it probably won’t be discussed during this session, it is a topic being discussed enough to make it to the House and that’s a good sign for sports betting hopefuls in the future.

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