Washington State Makes New Push For Expanded Gambling

WashingtonWashington is once again looking to expand gambling and allow cardrooms and racetracks the opportunity to offer sports betting. State legislators made a similar push last year but Indian tribes opposed the idea and were successful.

Tribal gaming operators are currently allowed to offer sports betting after legislators granted them approval during the last session. However, their sportsbooks are not up and running on the reservation as the tribal operators and the state are still working on government compacts.

A new Senate Bill 5212 is being co-sponsored by R- Sen. Curtis King of Yakima and D- Sen. Marko Liias of Lynnwood. The new bill pushes for existing racetracks and cardrooms to offer sports betting. The bill pushes for online sports betting but limits cardrooms and racetracks to offering these services only within their premises.

The last push for expanded gambling in Washington was opposed by tribal operators and the new push is also going to face opposition once again. However, this time around state legislators are more confident that sports betting will get approval.

This is because Washington like all states in America has taken a major financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington is facing a big budget deficit and is looking for new ways to revive its economy. Expanding its betting industry and allow cardrooms and racetracks to offer online sports betting is expected to bring in millions of dollars each year.

Should the bill get approved, it will create an additional 10 jobs at each of the 19 locations that will benefit from this bill. That’s a total of 190 jobs. Millions of dollars in tax revenue will also be generated which will be used to fund state and local programs.

What’s On The Table With SB 5212?

SB 5212 will only permit existing racetracks and cardrooms to apply for a sports betting license. Each license will cost a total of $100,000. Licensed operators will have to pay out a 10 percent state betting tax in addition to taxes that are imposed at the local level. The 10 percent state tax will be imposed on gross revenues from all sports bets.

The bill does not permit any bets to be placed on collegiate sports that take place in the state or involve Washington state team. Bettors will also not be allowed to bet on video games, e-sports and high school sports.

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