Washington is known for being one of the largest gambling hubs on the West Coast. It seems that some groups here feel this industry is not being operated on an even playing field. A federal lawsuit has just been filed claiming Washington’s gambling industry is currently being run by a monopoly.
Many new gaming options have become available in this state over the past few years. Now is a great time to look at what this new lawsuit is alleging.
Let’s get into it!
Federal Lawsuit Argues a Monopoly Controls Washington’s Gambling Industry
The United States is home to a somewhat unusual set of laws toward the regulation of gambling. Essentially, each state is able to set its own laws on this industry. These vary greatly with some areas of the country allowing nearly all forms of gambling and others having a blanket ban on even the most simplistic forms of wagering.
Washington is now home to a large number of tribal-run casinos. These were allowed to operate after the federal passing of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. When sports betting was legalized here in early 2020, lawmakers agreed to give the tribal groups operating casinos exclusive access to run sportsbooks.
Not everyone was pleased with that decision. A federal lawsuit has just been filed, arguing Washington’s gambling industry is operating under a monopoly. The lawsuit was filed by Maverick Gaming LLC, a major card room operator in the state. Maverick official Eric Persson is pushing for sports betting to be allowed outside of just tribal casinos and believes the current laws are unfair to gaming companies like his own.
“I think there’s a big gap between the judiciary and the legislative system,” Persson said. “And I think that as that gets clarified and the legislators understand that IGRA is being applied wrongly in the state of Washington, I think they’re going to engage us. And to me, this is just a logical next step.”
This is the biggest push to change the gambling laws in Washington to date. Will Maverick Gaming’s lawsuit have any effect?
What is This Lawsuit Aiming to Accomplish?
This is not the first major lawsuit to be filed over a state’s gambling regulations. In fact, it’s not the first to focus on how a state is choosing to regulate sports betting. Sports betting is helping to bring in a huge amount of revenue around the country and various groups are doing what they can to enter the market.
Commercial gaming operators are now working to gain a larger foothold in Washington’s gambling industry. At the moment, only tribal groups are legally able to provide sports betting options. If Maverick Gaming is successful, it will be permitted to run sportsbooks, too.
This is a somewhat similar situation to the one Florida finds itself in. The Seminole Tribe was granted the ability to operate sportsbooks fairly early into 2021. Various lawsuits from commercial gaming companies arguing this is unconstitutional have delayed the launch of sports betting in this state.
Maverick Gaming is focusing on more than just sports betting. The group also believes it should have permission to offer the same types of casino games found in tribal casinos inside their card rooms. That includes popular table games such as roulette and craps.
Various individuals, including several tribal leaders in Washington, are already pushing against this lawsuit. It will likely take months to settle. Stay tuned for updates on this situation as the year continues!
How Will Washington’s Gambling Industry Fare in 2022?
The entire US gambling industry surged throughout 2022. Nearly every state with regulated gambling options saw massive revenue surges throughout the year. Washington saw impressive gambling revenue figures throughout the year and most expect that to continue in 2022.
All of Washington’s casinos saw impressive revenue gains when compared to 2020. Certain months proved to be better than others. The summer months were very successful for this state’s casino industry and nearly all others in the United States.
Sports betting continues to grow more popular here, too. Washington only allows bets to be placed inside of tribal casinos. Online sportsbooks are operating, yet they are only accessible while inside these casinos.
It’s unclear if Washington’s gambling industry will be affected in any major way by the lawsuit being filed by Maverick Gaming. If successful, there is reason to believe that gambling revenue will grow. The amount of money being earned by tribal groups will likely decrease.
What do you think of this new federal lawsuit? Should commercial gaming companies be allowed to operate sportsbooks? Let us know in the comments section below.