Following the beginning of the public hearings regarding the sports betting bill for the tribal casinos in the state that is supposed to be sent to the Senate for a final vote, the bill’s opponents pledged to launch a movement that stretches beyond ongoing legislative discussions.
The CEO of Maverick Gaming LLC, Eric Persson, made a vow to spend a large amount of money to make sure this election cycle would prevent the bill from being turned into law. The Nevada-based gambling operator has been willing to see sports betting services expanded to the 19 of its card-room casinos across the state. The gambling company has shared that EHB 2638 is a measure that is aimed at granting a monopoly to local Native American tribes instead of making sure the public will is listened to.
As Mr. Persson explained right before giving public testimony at the hearing held at the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Maverick Gaming is ready to spend between $20 and $30 million in the ongoing election circle to protect its 2,200 employees in the state of Nevada. The gambling company also wants to raise the awareness of all residents of Washington in terms of the process and promised that the operator would do everything it can, including lobbying, litigation, TV advertising, etc. to make people hear its message.
Maverick Gaming Intends to Fight for the Right to Offer Sports Betting Services
The last few weeks have seen Maverick Gaming donating about $1 million to a political action committee it controls. As the gambling operator’s boss explained, the committee is set to now focus on House and Senate campaigns regarding the controversial emergency clause associated with the SHB 2638 that was unveiled earlier in 2020.
The above-mentioned emergency clause is set to prevent the bill from becoming subject to a state-wide referendum that requires at least 60% support in order to pass. According to Mr. Persson, the residents of Washington want to see sports betting offered not only at tribal casinos and would not back the state in its pursuit of annual tax revenue worth $50 million by limiting the sports betting services to tribal casinos only. He further noted that the matter had not been considered an emergency issue before, or at least until Maverick Gaming arrived on the scene.
The truth is that the fight for the right to operate sports betting services in Washington has been mostly a behind-the-scenes fight. Both Maverick Gaming and the 29 Indian Tribes in the state have spent 6-figure sums on lobbying and making campaign contributions over the past year in an attempt to lure state lawmakers to their side.
Tribal casinos have been given rights to offer the majority of legal gambling services in the state of Washington, which is currently among the US states with the strictest anti-gambling legislation. For the time being, sports betting is still not legal within the borders of the state. Following the US Supreme Court’s ruling that annulled a federal law that had banned sports betting in the country, except for a handful of states, the pressure to give the green light to sports betting expansion in the state has been rising.