Maverick continues Circuit Court Washington sports betting challenge

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Image: Shutterstock / Wilton M

The industry may be focused on Florida these days, but there is another challenge to tribal sports betting advancing through the court system in Washington.

Maverick Gaming’s challenge to Washington’s tribal gaming compact currently sits with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after the District Court ruled the suit could not go forward.

Citing Rule 19, District Court Judge David Estudillo concluded the case could not move forward because the interest of the government and the tribes mentioned in the case were not aligned. Since the tribes named in the suit are protected from the suit by tribal sovereignty, Estudillo dismissed the case.

Maverick appealed to the Circuit Court in July. For the past three months, various parties have submitted briefs related to the case, including the answering brief from the state and an amicus brief from nearly two dozen tribes.

The Amici Tribes’ interests are directly implicated by this suit because Plaintiff Maverick Gaming LLC (“Maverick”) expressly challenges the legality of the Amici Tribes’ gaming activities and seeks to void their gaming compacts. If successful, these claims would cripple the Amici Tribes’ governments and economies, decimating their budgets for education, healthcare, public safety, and other critical services upon which tribal members and neighboring non-tribal communities depend,” the tribes noted in their brief.

Earlier this month, Maverick filed its response brief to those filings. The brief argued as Maverick has throughout the appeal, that the government is fully capable of representing tribal interests and they are aligned on this issue. If the court agrees that is the case, there is room for the proceedings to move forward vs being stuck in limbo by Rule 19.

“On every legal issue presented in this case, the Tribe and the federal government are fully aligned. Yet, under the Tribe’s theory, that is not sufficient. According to the Tribe, any sovereign—Tribe, State, or foreign country—has the power to insulate federal agency action from judicial review. That is not the law,” the response brief argued.

Ted Olsen, the lawyer who represented New Jersey in the court case that ultimately overturned PASPA, is representing Maverick in this case.

The next step for the case is oral arguments in front of the Ninth Circuit.