SB 5212 is endorsed by the Washington State Labor Council, bipartisan sponsors State Senators Curtis King (R) and Marko Liias (D)
Local governments and community organizations urge passage of bill that will increase investments in Washington communities

WASHINGTON – On February 4, 2021, the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs will hold a public hearing at 8AM regarding SB 5212, a bipartisan proposal to create a regulated, legal, and taxed marketplace for sports betting in Washington. The legislation has bipartisan support and is sponsored by State Senators Curtis King and Marko Liias (Majority Floor Leader). Since the legislation was introduced, it has also been endorsed by the Washington State Labor Council, local mayors and Chambers of Commerce who advocate that tax revenues generated by sports betting will help bolster critical public services during and after the pandemic, while also stabilizing and creating family wage jobs across the state.

As of November 2020, 25 states and D.C. have legalized sports betting and are poised to realize millions in revenue as a result. Revenues from local gambling taxes to local jurisdictions in Washington are anticipated to increase by at least 35% with the passage of this bill. In Washington, Maverick Gaming already contributes approximately $13 million annually to the local communities where it operates. There is room for all licensed, regulated gaming operations to be successful, both in the expansive casino resort destinations operated by several tribal nations and within the more modest neighborhood setting of a commercial cardroom.

Maverick Gaming, which owns 19 neighborhood card rooms in Washington, is proud to be the largest private-sector employer of Teamsters Local 117.

Local leaders and organizations supporting SB 5212 include: Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta, Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet and Tukwila Mayor Allan Ekberg.

On Tuesday February 2, a bipartisan group of State Representatives announced their support for SB 5212 in a letter to the Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee. The letter was signed by Representatives Lovick, Boehnke, Springer, Hoff, Walen and Vick.

“The history of regulating and taxing gambling in our state is appropriately cautious. Washington has successfully managed a legal gambling system that is a source of tax revenue for public services, and includes efforts to combat problem gambling,” said Maverick Gaming CEO and co-founder Eric Persson. “Commercial cardrooms have been operating in this system since 1997. SB 5212 will create a taxed and regulated marketplace for sports betting that fits our state’s measured approach by restricting sports betting to on-premise only, and would limit commercial sports licenses to only the currently licensed operators, thus curtailing future expansion. SB 5212 will also ensure no commercial business has a sports betting license before negotiations for tribal compacts are complete. I thank the Senate Committee for hosting a public hearing on this legislation and on behalf of our 2,000 teammates, I urge them to advance this proposal.”

Details of the bipartisan legislation include:

  • Only existing licensed cardrooms and racetracks would be eligible for a sports betting license.

  • Each license (each facility must have its own license) would be charged a $100,000 licensing fee to fully cover the cost of a robust regulatory system focused on public safety and integrity.

  • A state-level 10% tax would be imposed on the operators on all gross revenues from sports wagers. This tax would be in addition to the taxes already levied at the local level.

SB 5212 does not allow:

  • Betting on collegiate sports events that take place in Washington State or that involve a Washington state team and take place outside of the state.

  • Betting on electronic sports, high school sports, and competitive video games.

  • Betting by anyone under the age of 18.

  • Any change or impact that would threaten tribal sports betting, and licenses for commercial cardrooms would not be granted before the first tribal compact for sports betting is complete.

The 2020 Legislature first legalized sports betting in Washington by authorizing a system exclusively available to tribal-owned casinos, despite broad public and editorial support for an inclusive system that would create new local and state revenue for all Washington communities by including private sector cardrooms. Tribes pursuing the ability to offer sports betting are working to finalize gaming compacts and once complete, will be able to offer sports books, likely during 2021.

Maverick Gaming operates 19 card rooms in Washington located from Kirkland to Tukwila to Lakewood to Kennewick as well as the Wendover Nugget, Red Garter Hotel, Red Lion Casino and Gold Country Casino in Nevada, as well as three properties in Colorado. The company  currently employs 2,000 team members in Washington State and intends to invest $500 million in licensed card rooms and planned entertainment developments across the state. Maverick Gaming is a proud employer of Teamsters Local 117 workers statewide as part of its commitment to providing sustainable, family-wage jobs.

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