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Washington Lawmakers Bring Sports Betting to the Discussion Table

Washington’s antipathy toward gambling seems to be thinning as it has just joined the flurry of states to be considering the legalization of sports betting

A bill calling for the legalization of sports gambling at the state’s tribal casinos appeared in the Legislature late last week and is set to be discussed later this week. Sponsored by Majority Caucus Chair Eric Pettigrew, House Bill 1975 aims to authorize physical and mobile betting, but both would only be allowed within tribal gaming facilities, the Seattle Times reports.

If the piece of legislation gains traction in the Legislature, it will represent the first major gambling expansion in Washington, which has traditionally been extremely conservative on everything gambling-related.

The proposed legalization of wagering on different sports arrives several months after the US Supreme Court struck down a long-standing federal ban on the practice. The landmark ruling paved the way for individual states to legalize sports betting if they feel inclined to do so. Seven states have joined Nevada in offering full-scale betting services since the SCOTUS decision, and lawmakers in a number of other states are discussing the legalization and regulation of the activity.

It was in 2015 when Washington lawmakers attempted to legalize an activity associated with gambling. A legislation authorizing daily fantasy and full-season fantasy sports was introduced back then, but died quickly in the state Legislature.

Paving the Way for Negotiations

Following the recent introduction of the sports betting bill, Washington lawmakers and regulators told local media that while the legislation might look a bit too restrictive, that was not the case. Chris Stearns of the state’s Gambling Commission told the Seattle Times that the limits in the bill “are actually not very big” and the piece does not “say very much”, but that it opens the door for the state’s tribes to operate sports betting “based on what they negotiate.”

Mr. Stearns went on to say that if HB 1975 gains the necessary support in the Legislature and takes effect as a law, it will be at least a year or two before legal sports betting goes live in the state as negotiations between the state and the tribe can take a while before they are finalized.

As mentioned above, the piece provides for the legalization and regulation of in-person and mobile betting but only within the confines of the state’s tribal casino. The bill thus follows Washington’s long-maintained policy of considering all forms of gambling illegal “except where carefully and specifically authorized and regulated.”

The sports betting legislation is set to appear before the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming on Thursday.

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The post Washington Lawmakers Bring Sports Betting to the Discussion Table appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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February 2019
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