Sports betting bills introduced in Washington State

Washington lawmakers have introduced several new sports betting bills.

Lawmakers in the state of Washington have introduced two new bills that would legalize sports wagering in the Evergreen State.

The two sports betting bills, SB 6277 and HB 2478, have been referred to the committee but no hearing dates have been set. Proposals for tribal groups to offer sports betting were also put forward.

It is worth mentioning that the state of Washington has a shortened legislative session this year. With just 60 days, lawmakers may prioritize other legislative issues in the state over sports betting.

What’s covered in the bills

SB 6277, which is named the Sports Wagering Act, would allow sports betting to be offered at authorized tribal casinos, racetracks, card rooms and online.

Washington is currently homed to 21 tribes that operate 29 casinos, 21 card room operators which operate 44 card rooms and two racetracks, creating plenty of opportunities for sports betting in Washington.

The Sports Wagering Act, which is sponsored by Republican Senators Ann Rivers and Curtis King, sets a tax rate of 10% on sports betting revenue. Tax revenue generated from bets placed on tribal land will be allocated to the tribe that operates in that specific area.

According to the bill, card rooms and racetracks will be required to pay an initial $500,000 licensing fee, but renewal fees have yet to be determined. The bill did not outline any other licensing costs but did state that sports betting licenses will last for five years and must be renewed.

Tribal casinos and sports betting licenses would only be permitted to operate one branded sports betting website, however, this can be accompanied by a mobile app of the same name.

The other sports betting bill, HB 2478, sets out the same proposals as the Senate bill and is supported by the Republican representative, Brandon Vick.

Limited collegiate betting

Under the bill, approved licensees would be prohibited from taking action on any of Washington’s collegiate teams as well as any collegiate sporting event held in the state.

This means that bettors would not be able to legally bet on Washington collegiate teams during high profile events such as the NCAA’s March Madness and football events. If the legislation is successful, Washington residents would not be able to wager on any NCAA event held in Washington.

The tribal proposals

Lawmakers also introduced bills specifically for sports betting on tribal land. The bills SB 6394 and HB 2638, would only allow Washington’s gambling tribes to offer sports betting at their casinos. The tribes would be allowed to operate mobile betting but would only be available on tribal land.

The one thing that sets the tribal bills apart from the commercial ones is that it will not prohibit sports betting on collegiate sporting events.

Sports betting in Washington

It is not yet clear whether or not there is enough political support to bring sports betting to Washington.

In July 2018, the Washington State Gambling Commission hosted several hearings to gauge the public’s opinion on sports betting. Members of the public that attended the hearings discussed three older bills that were ultimately unsuccessful.

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