Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA) has welcomed a federal judge’s decision to move the Maverick Gaming lawsuit to the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Maverick filed a lawsuit in January, contesting an application of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that alleges it is “being used inappropriately to give tribes exclusive rights to certain types of gaming, such as sports betting, that are not allowed in non-tribal gaming properties in Washington State”.
Last week, Washington state officials successfully argued that it is within the public interest of the people of Washington and the private interest of the state defendants for the trial to be heard within the state.
Following the federal judge’s decision, Rebecca George, Executive Director of WIGA, commented: “We applaud the judge’s strong decision today to move Maverick’s anti-tribal gaming lawsuit to Washington State, where it should be heard. Maverick Gaming’s lawsuit seeks to invalidate all tribal gaming compacts in Washington State and undermine the carefully crafted, limited and successful system of gaming we have developed here over three decades.
“Their plans would cause irreparable harm locally, not just to historically marginalized tribal communities but also to the general public. It makes sense for the case to be adjudicated in Washington State rather than 3000 miles away in Washington, DC.
“We are hopeful the federal courts here will also reject Maverick’s attempt to remove the State of Washington and our elected officials as defendants in the case. No amount of high priced Washington, D.C. attorneys can change the reality that Maverick’s lawsuit is a direct assault on the carefully limited and successful system of gaming we have established here in Washington State, which has brought so much benefit to historically marginalized tribal communities and to our overall state economy.”
Upon launching the lawsuit back in January, Maverick’s CEO and Co-Founder Eric Persson said: “We support and respect tribal equality and sovereignty. Our decision to file this litigation is founded on the same values that we have brought to all of our efforts at Maverick Gaming.
“We are proud of our union-led workforce in Washington that offers family-wage jobs with benefits and a pension, helping create access to economic opportunity in communities across my home state.
“That access to economic opportunity relies on a fair application of laws such as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and I am hopeful that this lawsuit will resolve successfully so that tribal casinos and smaller commercial cardrooms like those owned by Maverick Gaming may offer the same types of legal gaming such as sports betting, just like commercial cardrooms and tribal casinos already offer in other states.”