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Washington Lawmakers Pushing Bill to Expand Sports Betting Beyond Tribal Casinos

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated February 22, 2023
8 min read
  • Three WA Senators Introduce Bill to Allow for Sports Betting Beyond Tribal Lands
  • Bill Calls for Legalization of Sports Wagering at Cardrooms and Racetracks
  • Goal of SB-5587: “To Level the Playing Field” of Sports Betting in Washington
Washington Lawmakers Pushing Bill to Expand

Three WA Senators Introduce Bill to Allow for Sports Betting Beyond Tribal Lands

To sports bet legally in Washington state, bettors must be physically located on tribal lands, meaning they have to be at one of their casinos placing in-person wagers including when using the tribal-run apps, though a new bill is meant to change that by allowing outsiders to operate.

Washington state Sens. Curtis King (R), Marko Liias (D), and Perry Dozier (R) are sponsoring Senate Bill 5587 which calls for the legalization of sports wagering at cardrooms and racetracks in addition to those casinos, that’s according to reporting done by the Seattle Medium (SM).

State lawmakers made sports betting legal in Washington in 2020 and the first sportsbook took action by September 2021 when the Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie opened its doors to that market with the other tribal casinos soon following suit.

Nearly 7.8 million people live in the state of Washington and the gamblers among them have reportedly been timid bettors so far, with former Washington State Gambling Commission Chair Chris Stearns, a member of Navajo Nation, telling SportsHandle recently:

“Washington has been a very conservative state when it comes to gambling. I think because sportsbooks are an incredibly new form of gaming, not just here in Washington but everywhere else in the U.S., getting it right is really important.”

It could also be due in part to the limited betting options there thanks to that tribal monopoly, a hurdle that SB-5587 is meant to eliminate.

Bill Calls for Legalization of Sports Wagering at Cardrooms and Racetracks

SM reports that SB-5587 expands sports wagering within the state beyond its current realm of tribal gaming and if approved, sports wagering licensees would be able to operate sports pools at a racetrack or through an internet sports pool operator, all bets subject to a 10% state tax.

That could be bad news for those tribes since that wider market would give resident bettors more odds and choices for wagers which could mean a loss of handle and revenue if they struggle to compete, but that’s good news for consumers looking for the best deals.

The Washington state legislature began their 2023 session last week and it is scheduled to adjourn on April 23, time enough for lawmakers to consider SB-5587 and debate whether they want to put an end to that tribal monopoly on legal sports betting.

Bill Calls for Legalization of Sports Wagering at Cardrooms and Racetracks

Should Washington open their sports betting market to outside operators like DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbook, it will be interesting to see how that affects the state’s overall handle assuming bettors there begin to spend more money thanks to having more gambling choices.

The three Senators’  (King, Liias, Dozier) stated cause for the legislation is to “level the playing field” according to the SM piece, a respectable goal for an American market where the consumer comes first when it comes to a variety of solid choices on where to spend.

U.S. legal sports betting is a new multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow the longer it exists, so expect Washington’s market to similarly evolve, that is if lawmakers there decide SB-5587 is in the best interest for everyone involved.

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Mike Lukas

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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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