A proposed bill aims to legalising sports betting and online gaming in state’s tribal casinos.
US.- House Bill 1975 was introduced on Friday in Washington state and is set to be discussed this week by state legislators. The legislative piece would legalise sports betting in state’s tribal gaming casinos and include online gaming in those facilities as well.
If passed, the bill represents a new opportunity and source of revenue for a state that has historically presented tough gambling laws. Washington’s current laws establish that any form of online gambling is a Class C felony.
Chris Stearns of the Washington State Gambling Commission said that the limits of the bill are actually “not very big”, The Seattle Times reported. “The bill doesn’t say very much, but the way federal Indian gaming law works is, just as long as the state permits something it opens the door for the tribes to operate based on what they negotiate. So, it may look limited, but it just opens the door to what the tribes can negotiate with the governor,” he added.
Stearns added that the negotiations won’t likely be finalised for a year or two if the bill gains passage this spring. The bill proposed to limit all sports betting, including online gaming, within the physical confined of tribal casinos.
“Tribes have more than 20 years’ experience with, and a proven track record of, successfully operating and regulating gaming facilities in accordance with tribal gaming compacts,” reads the bill, which will be discussed at a public hearing scheduled for Thursday morning before the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming in Olympia.