The expansion of Washington State’s sports betting may take a step back for the moment. For now, bettors in the Evergreen State are limited to just brick-and-mortar locations held by the tribal nations that call the state home.
Maverick Gaming Faces a Major Setback for Challenging the Tribes
Maverick Gaming was hoping for digital sports betting to happen across the state. However, U.S. District Court Judge David Estudillo dismissed the cardroom operator’s antitrust challenge of the agreements that were set amongst the tribal nations.
Last year, Maverick Gaming filed a lawsuit against Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and members of the Washington State Gambling Commission. This group is in charge of approving, enforcing, and implementing tribal gaming compacts in the Evergreen State.
Due to its sovereign status, Estudillo ruled that the Shoalwater Bay Tribe should be included in the lawsuit, as it would be affected by the outcome. This is certainly a setback for the operator but has a case to make. In 2020, Washington legalized sports betting at tribal casinos, so over a dozen tribes amended their compacts to allow it.
Additionally, two proposals to expand the Washington sports betting market are pending with committees. Attorney General Bob Ferguson stated, “This is a significant victory for tribal sovereignty.” Washington Indian Gaming Association executive director Rebecca George also agreed with the statement.
Federal Representation Plays a Big Role in the State
The ruling could have a substantial impact on Shoalwater since it relies heavily on sports betting revenue. U.S. District Court Judge David Estudillo agreed with Shoalwater’s arguments. In the past, Attorney General Bob Ferguson opposed SB 5212, which would have allowed mobile sports betting in the state.
This isn’t the first Maverick Gaming case that involved federal representation. However, this dispute will most likely continue because the operator will dispute the ruling and proceed to appeal the outcome.
Several articles depict how mobile sports betting has altered the way consumers watch sports. Many states have taken the approach to mitigate problem gaming during their respective legislative sessions. States that are on the verge of legalizing sports betting have taken note of other markets that have already launched.
Maverick Gaming Will Not Give Up Easily
CEO Eric Persson stated in an email that the operator reiterated that the operator will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed. In the lawsuit that paved the way for legal sports betting beyond Nevada, Ted Olson, a partner at Gibson Dunn, represented New Jersey.
Maverick’s partner operates 19 of the company’s 44 cardrooms. A similar event happened in Florida where the Seminole Tribe quietly launched Hard Rock Sportsbook. Just a few months into the operation, a federal judge stated that the tribe violated the gaming compact that stood for many decades. As of right now, sports betting remains illegal in the Sunshine State.