Maverick backs new bill for sports betting in Washington State cardrooms

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Maverick Gaming has reiterated its backing for new legislation rivalling a bill that would see sports betting made legal solely in Washington State’s tribal casinos. The operator said it supports legislation introduced in the 2021 Legislative Session that would allow currently licensed commercial card rooms and race tracks in Washington to offer on-premise sports betting. 

The legislation, it argues, represents an opportunity to stabilize jobs and drive revenue following the deep economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. Revenue from local gambling taxes to local jurisdictions is anticipated to increase by at least 35% with the passage of this bill. 

The bipartisan bill SB 5212, sponsored by State Senators Curtis King and Marko Liias, dictates that only existing licensed cardrooms and racetracks would be eligible for a sports betting license

Each license (each facility must have its own license) would be charged a $100,000 licensing fee to fully cover the cost of a robust regulatory system focused on public safety and integrity.

A state-level 10% tax would be imposed on the operators on all gross revenues from sports wagers. This tax would be in addition to the taxes already levied at the local level.

The bill prohibits any betting on collegiate sports events that take place in Washington State or that involve a Washington state team and take place outside of the state would be prohibited. Also off limits is betting on esports, high school sports, and competitive video games. 

SB 5212 does not change or impact tribal sports betting, and licenses for commercial cardrooms would not be granted before the first tribal compact for sports betting is complete.

The 2020 Legislature first legalized sports betting in Washington by authorizing a system exclusively available to tribal-owned casinos despite, says Maverick, broad public and editorial support for a system that would create new local and state revenue by including private sector cardrooms. Tribes pursuing the ability to offer sports betting are working to finalize gaming compacts and once complete, will be able to offer sports books, likely during 2021.

Maverick Gaming CEO and co-founder Eric Persson stated: “2020 was an extraordinarily challenging year for our teammates and all the communities where we operate, but we remain committed to investing in Washington. 

“As the 2021 Legislature begins to grapple with the ongoing devastation caused by the pandemic, Maverick Gaming supports SB 5212 because it lays out a modest approach that will generate economic opportunity for our workforce, create approximately 10 new jobs at each of our 19 locations, and help spark pandemic relief efforts by contributing tens of millions of new tax dollars to local and state programs. We are humbled that the legislation already has bipartisan support and we look forward to advocating for this proposal.”

According to Maverick, SB 5212 is already earning broad backing, with the Washington State Labor Council supporting the legislation because it strengthens job stability and opportunity for people who work as servers, kitchen staff, dealers, security personnel and others. 

The firm, which already contributes approximately $13m annually to the local communities where it operates, believes there is room for all licensed, regulated gaming operations to be successful, both in tribal locations and commercial cardrooms.