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Movement of sports betting bills in Washington could lead to legalization in the near future.

  • Two sports betting bills are making their way through the legislative chambers in Washington.
  • Should each bill continue moving forward, the Evergreen State could see the legalized wagering on sports in 2020.
  • The last day of the shortened session is March 13, which is why things are moving at such a quick pace.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – There’s been movement in Washington in the form of sports betting bills that could see legalization in 2020 or 2021.

Both a Senate and House bill have been moving forward through the Committees with passing votes. Each has further hurdles to go through before finally landing on Governor Jay Inslee’s desk for his approval.

The Bills With Traction

WA SB 6394 is the Senate bill that would make wagering on sports a reality through the use of Tribal state gaming compacts. Sportsbooks would be allowed to open at Tribal casinos in the state.

On February 6, the bill was voted to pass through the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce. Its next stop is the Senate floor where it has not yet been scheduled.

“I feel like there is a strong pathway for us to get it to the governor this year,’’ said Senate Committee member Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), a sponsor of the bill. “That’s what I’m working on.’’

The companion bill of the Senate bill is WA HB 2638. This bill would make sports betting legal through Tribal businesses in the state. While it passed through the House of Commerce & Gaming on January 30, there were concerns as to its lack of internet platforms. However, bill sponsor, Representative Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds) believes that makes no difference.

“I’d say the momentum is really big right now because we control the outcome,” said Peterson. “Working with our tribal partners, we have real control over the final product.”

WA HB 2638 will have a public hearing on February 8 at 9:00 a.m. at the House Committee on Appropriations. What happens during this hearing could set the tone for what happens with the Senate bill. The next step for both bills should be known by February 11.

Washington has a condensed session this year with only 60 days of being open to get things done. The last day of the 2020 session is March 13. Should the bills stall out, sponsors for each are hopeful that they’ve had enough spotlight in the 2020 session to make sure 2021 will see a positive outcome.

But there is still plenty of time for the Evergreen State to get legalized sports betting in 2020 with how quickly things have been moving.

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