Lawmakers in Washington State are working on a bill that seeks to expand sports betting in the Evergreen State.
The new bill proposes that Washington State sports betting will no longer be conducted by just the tribal casinos and private card rooms. The state wants to expand Washington State sports betting to other locations, similar to how it is across the United States. Primarily, lawmakers want to allow state-run card rooms and horse tracks to engage in Washington State sports betting activities.
said Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, a sponsor of the bill:
“This is about fairness. We need to share the wealth. We need to take care of the state of Washington as well.”
Creating Jobs Across the State
Under the expanded bill, sports betting operators would pay licensing fees amounting to $100,000 and are required to pay the state a 10% tax based on their revenues. The proposal will not allow betting on Washington State college sports, high school sports, and eGames.
The supporters of the proposal argue that increasing sports betting locations in the state would create jobs across the state and add an estimated $50M in annual tax revenues. However, those opposed to the idea insist that expanding sports betting in Washington State would take away income from the tribal groups that use these revenues to fund their own operations and social programs.
Lines Are Drawn
Washington State legalized sports betting for tribal casinos last year. However, these casinos have not commenced operations as they are still deciding on compacts in negotiations. The delay by these tribal groups has left the door open for lawmakers to attempt to expand Washington State sports betting.
State officials tried to expand the sports betting law last year but failed to pass a bill. 2021 is going to be an interesting year in Washington State with the lines drawn between the proponents of the expanded bill and those who support the existing one. Although both have good arguments, having more Washington State sports betting operators will be better for the competition and will also mean more income for the state.