Washington considering a pair of sports betting bills
18 January 2020
(PRESS RELEASE) -- Today, Maverick Gaming detailed its support for legislation to create a fully regulated and taxed land-based and mobile sports betting system. That proposal makes land-based and mobile sports betting available to Tribal casinos, racetracks, and licensed card rooms in Washington State. The legislation, HB 2478 and SB 6277, is sponsored in the State House by Representative Vick and in the State Senate by Senators King and Rivers.
“Maverick Gaming employs 2,200 people in 19 licensed card rooms across Washington, and we are committed to creating an environment that is fun and safe for our guests, while also implementing system-wide self-exclusion policies to reduce problem gambling,” said Maverick Gaming co-founder and CEO Eric Persson. “Legal sports betting will give lawmakers the opportunity to create a regulated system that collects tax revenues that should be used to address community needs, supports a strong sustainable workforce, and provides economic opportunity in this growing global market. Critically, regulated, legal sports betting has the dual benefit of undermining offshore criminal networks which currently profit from the unregulated and unsafe system. I look forward to working with Washington’s elected leaders, Tribal Government Leaders, community stakeholders, and all interested parties regarding the merits of this proposed legislation.”
Sports betting is currently illegal in Washington. But 20 states and Washington D.C. have acted to legalize sports betting following a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court finding that federal law banning sports betting was unconstitutional. Flourishing illegal offshore sports betting websites support organized crime, money laundering and a variety of dangerous criminal enterprises. By legalizing sports betting in Washington, state regulators would be empowered to regulate the industry, collect tax revenue for community needs and help support public safety by providing a vetted, monitored, licensed and responsible option for those interested in sports betting.
Maverick Gaming strongly supports the pillars set forth by the Washington State Gambling Commission to help guide policy making for the legalization of sports betting: licensing and regulation, agency funding for effective regulation, combating money laundering and strict criminal enforcement, sport and gambling integrity, responsible and problem gambling.
The legislation - modeled after the legal system in New Jersey - would create a strict framework of regulations for a legal sports betting marketplace. A full fact sheet and list of parameters is attached to this press release. Only people aged 18 or over could participate in sports betting.
Maverick Gaming also highlighted an announcement by Teamsters Local 117 that 1,700 of Maverick Gaming card room employees have joined the union as the employees’ exclusive bargaining representative, with Maverick CEO Persson stating that “our strategy for investing in responsible gaming in Washington is synonymous with investing in our employees. As we began our expansion in Washington earlier this year, we pro-actively reached out to Teamsters 117 as part of our commitment to fostering a quality workplace that offers fair wages and benefits for all employees. We worked to adopt a labor neutrality agreement and Teamsters 117 conducted its outreach to our employees. We look forward to the next steps in the process as part of our commitment to offering best-in-class opportunities for our employees.”
In the announcement by Teamsters Local 117, John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117, said that “Maverick provides an excellent example of how a company should conduct itself during a union organizing drive. While some employers fire workers or aggressively spread anti-union propaganda, Maverick trusted its workers to decide for themselves whether they wanted to join the union.”
Maverick Gaming operates card rooms in Washington located from Kirkland to Tukwila to Lakewood to Kennewick and in total operates 26 casinos across three states. Maverick Gaming currently employees approximately 2,200 people in Washington State and intends to invest $500 million in acquisitions of licensed card rooms and other entertainment developments across the state.
At the core of Maverick Gaming’s Responsible Gambling approach is its ‘self-exclusion’ policy, which gives self-identified problem gamblers opportunity to avoid risking their wallets and their well-being. Washington has passed a law requiring the State Gambling Commission to finalize a self-exclusion system by 2021, but Maverick Gaming has already begun the process of implementing centralized self-exclusion statewide, restricting access to problem gamblers in all its card rooms.