Washington may be the second state on the West Coast to officially legalize sports betting. Many politicians and sports fans want to see this form of gambling finally allowed here. Today, we’re going to talk about how this push to have legal sports betting in Washington came about.
Many states around the country are now legalizing sports gambling. It’s proving to be an extremely lucrative industry. Lawmakers in Washington seem to recognize this fact.
Here’s what’s happening!
Washington’s Set of Gambling Laws, Explained
It might come as somewhat of a surprise to some, but Washington is home to a huge number of legal gambling options. This state is somewhat of a gambling hub for the Pacific Northwest. Most traditional forms of gambling are perfectly legal here.
This wasn’t always the case, though. For many years, Washington held a largely anti-gambling stance. In fact, some of the early leaders of this state set a blanket ban on gambling that lasted for decades.
In the 1980s, things began to change. Lawmakers here realized it was time to open a state lottery. About ten years later, the state approved plans to allow Native American tribes to operate casinos on sovereign land.
There are now a huge number of casinos in Washington that residents and tourists can access. Unfortunately, this state is against online casino gambling. A law was passed here in 2006 that seemed to criminalize playing casino games over the internet.
Some feel this law only makes it illegal to play casino games through sites based within the state. Others feel it’s a blanket ban on internet gambling.
Lawmakers are once again starting to embrace change. New reports indicate that legal sports betting in Washington may be just around the corner.
The Road to Legal Sports Betting in Washington is Almost Complete
The US Supreme Court decided to strike down PASPA in May of 2018. It was a monumental decision that immediately allowed every state in the country to set their own laws on sports betting. Today, more than 20 states have passed bills to legalize this industry.
It now looks like Washington is next. Two sports betting bills were presented here in February of 2019. This week, one of the bills to allow legal sports betting in Washington advanced to a final House vote.
This bill, called HB 2638, only allows for sports betting to take place inside tribal casinos. A House Appropriations Committee voted 25-7 to approve these new measures. The decision will now head to the House, and then the Senate for final approval.
Strom Peterson, a sponsor of this new bill, commented on the news to the media this week.
“I’m hoping to get this moving over to the Senate on a relatively fast timeline,” he said. “We’ll see if that happens, but with a very bi-partisan vote that we just had this evening, I think that helps.”
That’s certainly true. Both democrats and republicans are getting on board with the idea of legal sports betting. Most agree it will help to bring the state millions in additional revenue each year.
Will this state’s sports betting market be able to compete with Oregon’s?
Oregon’s Sports Betting Market is Set to Expand
Oregon was quick to jump on the sports betting train. Lawmakers here approved a bill to legalize this form of gambling in 2019 after months of careful consideration. Here, both land-based and online sports wagering is allowed.
Not long after approving this law, state officials began looking to expand the market. Soon, several new tribal casinos in the state will be allowed to offer sports betting odds. Several betting kiosks will also soon begin offering sports gambling options at different bars and retailers.
This isn’t going to make things easy for Washington’s sports betting market. The option to place wagers on different sporting events is welcomed here, yet the inability to make bets online is confusing.
Things are clearly going well for Oregon, though. Lawmakers in this state seem pleased with the revenue flowing in.
Legal sports betting in Washington may become available within the next few months. Hopefully, California completes the West Coast sports betting legalization this year, as well.
Stay tuned for more updates over the next few months!