Washington Governor Jay Inslee has been sent a sports betting bill to sign.

  • Bill WA HB 2638 is finally front and center on the desk of Governor Jay Inslee for a decision on whether to legalize sports betting in Washington.
  • The Evergreen State would see sportsbooks opening at Tribal locations statewide under this bill.
  • Retail sportsbooks are the only type of sports betting that would be made legal at this time.

OLYMPIA, Wash.Washington HB 2638 to legalize sports betting was officially delivered to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk on Wednesday. The bill passed in both the House and the Senate with a final

House vote occurring on March 7 where it passed with 83 YEAS and 14 NAYS. On March 9, the House Speaker signed off on the bill and the Senate President signed it on March 10, allowing it to finally be given to Governor Inslee Wednesday.

What Washington House Bill 2638 Entails

Sports betting would be made legal with the help of tribal-state gaming compacts under WA HB 2638. All Tribal businesses within Washington would be eligible to open sportsbooks at their locations. While mobile and internet sports betting applications were not included within the bill it does not mean they won’t happen in the future.

However, it would require sports bettors to be on Tribal grounds when accessing their accounts. Both professional and collegiate sporting events are open for betting through House Bill 2638.

While the bill offers Tribal exclusivity, the Tribes are not against commercial gaming happening in the state. However, the bill is needed to give them this exclusivity in order for it to line up with their gaming compacts that are already in place. Should Washington decide to include commercial businesses to enter the sports betting market, the law could certainly be amended.

This could help stop any possible legal issues that Maverick Gaming has threatened to bring up should WA HB 2638 become law. Maverick had said from the beginning that they wanted to be part of the legalization of sports betting in Washington. When they were not included through the duration of the bill’s hearings, they decided to threaten legal action. An amendment to the potential law could help the Evergreen State bypass any possible problems such as this one.

The bill was signed just in time as the legislative session in the state ends on March 13. The companion bill to WA HB 2638, WA SB 6394 failed to progress further in the Committee as of February 7 and will not move forward in 2020.

If Governor Inslee signs WA HB 2638 into law, sports betting in the Evergreen State could begin in late 2020 to early 2021. Inslee has 20 days excluding Sundays to make his decision on the final fate of WA HB 2638.

This would mean April 2 would be the final day for any action to be made regarding legalizing sports betting in Washington.

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