Tribal sports betting bill advances in Washington

The state of Washington is one step closer towards getting some form of legal sports betting.

The Washington Senate Labor and Commerce Committee has passed a piece of legislation that would authorise online and land-based sports betting in the state of Washington.

The legislation, HB 2638 and its companion bill SB 6394, was introduced in January and would permit land-based sports betting at tribal casinos and cardrooms and online betting while on a tribal casino’s premises.

On February 24, the Senate Committee approved the bill which will not move onto the Senate Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.

This news comes after the bill received a vote of 83-14 allowing it to clear the Washington House of Representatives last week.

What’s covered in the bill?

If the proposed legislation is successful Washington’s gambling tribes will be able to offer sports betting at their casinos and cardrooms as well as mobile betting, but this would only be available on tribal land.

Under the bill, Bettors in the state will be able to place sports wagers on any professional sporting or athletic events, including college sports, the Olympics and other international sporting contests.

The bill doesn’t include language relating to tax rates and licensing fees but has yet to outline any specific price points or tax rates. The bill would also charge the Washington State Gambling Commission with the responsibility of regulating the state’s betting market.

More legislation being considered

Although HB 2638 and its companion bill SB 6394, continue to make progress, several other bills are also being considered. SB 6277, which is also 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 the state.

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.

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