Washington May Be Part of List of States That Legalized Sports Betting as Bill Passes State House

By  //  February 14, 2020

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In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States found the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 as unconstitutional.

In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States found the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 as unconstitutional.

This is after the state of New Jersey challenged the act to be able to regulate local sports betting in the state.

After the Supreme Court did strike down PASPA, a few states immediately signed betting into law on that same year. These are states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. In 2019, more states have followed suit and currently, there are now 20 states that have signed it into law. Michigan is the most recent state to do this before 2019 ended.

Despite the movement of these states towards legalizing local operations of sports betting, there are still states the remain unmoved about the matter like the state of Utah. Utah isn’t likely to pass any bill regarding betting just yet in the next few years.

This year, the industry is looking forward to seeing more states to finally allow local sports betting operations. Washington has recently made the news about it.

Last week, the Washington states’ house overwhelmingly approved a bill (HB – 2368) that allows sports betting in the state’s tribal casinos. The bill got a total vote of 83 – 14. 83 people of the house committee agreed to push the bill forward. 

Now, it will still take the approval of a companion bill for HB – 2368 to reach Governor Jay Inslee’s desk for a signature. SB – 6394 is still awaiting the potential full floor vote by next month. If this passes the Senate, the governor could already sign sports betting into law. 

SB – 6394 lead sponsor Senator Rebecca Saltaña expressed her feelings about this. She said, “I feel like there is a strong pathway for us to get it to the governor this year. That’s what I’m working on.’’

HB – 2368 sponsor Representative Strom Peterson is just really happy with the developments. He was hoping to have the State House push the bill forward as early as next week, but this even happened earlier, within just 48 hours with an emergency amendment.

Peterson talked about this and said, “Incredibly proud of the strong 83-14 bipartisan vote. We have found a good middle path that supports our tribal partners, allows adults to safely access sports betting and protects our youth.”

Both bills are mainly focused on only allowing betting in tribal casinos. This means that online betting will still be prohibited in the state but can only be allowed within the vicinity of the tribal casinos.

This may mean that punters, however, would still place bets on offshore bookies that attract punters with their bonuses. For example, 10Cric bonus offers are good enough reasons why people would place bets online. 

This may still mean that Washington will still miss out on potential big betting revenues as mobile is really the preference of many people nowadays. The state may experience what New York is experiencing with the lack of online or mobile betting. 

Still, the passing of HB – 2368 is still huge for the state of Washington. This state has one of the most concrete anti-gambling laws in the US and so it means a lot that its House pushed this bill forward. The impossible just seems to be a bit more possible because of this. 

However, the passing of this bill may end up getting hardly questioned by the court because of the emergency amendment it came with.

Maverick Gaming released a legal opinion from a former State Senator and Supreme Court Judge Philip A. Talmadge regarding this.

It expressed how there seems to be no basis for Representative Peterson to pass the bill with an emergency amendment. Such an amendment is only applicable to issues that concern public health, safety, and peace. 

Talmadge wrote: “An emergency clause to this legislation, claiming that either bill is necessary for the immediate preservation of public peace, health, or safety is highly suspect and will only ensure lengthy litigation testing such a legislative assertion.” 

The supporters of this bill will still have to wait for the companion bill to he approved and may also still have to go through quite a challenge to get this to be signed by the governor but Peterson is still very hopeful about it. 

Maverick is also pushing to have this expansion extended to small card rooms, but the lawmakers are still being conservative about it by only extending this to tribal casinos.