Washington Sports Betting Supporters Cite Job Creation as Pro

Featured in this article:

  • Senate Bill 5212 details only licensed cardrooms and racetracks are eligible for licenses
  • Senators Marko Liias and Curtis King have co-sponsored the bill, although some lawmakers oppose

In a recent hearing by the Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee, Washington lawmakers and other lobbyists who support a legalized sports betting bill argued that it could provide jobs with well-paying salaries and up to 200 positions — but some who oppose the bill aren’t sure of that.

The bill, Senate Bill 5212 is co-sponsored by Republican Senator Curtis King and Democratic Floor Leader Senator Marko Liias. It’s also received a significant amount of support from Eric Persson, owner of Maverick Gaming. The bill seeks to legalize sports betting, and allow sports betting at licensed card rooms and horse racing tracks.

Tribal casinos have operated the majority of legalized gambling activities in Washington for over 10 years, although ‘card room’ casinos are allowed in certain parts of the states, and only allow blackjack and certain types of poker. This bill would seek to change this, and spread sports betting to other parts of the state.

people exchanging money

Will Washington see sports betting sooner rather than later?

Persson says the bill will allow them to create ‘good-paying’ jobs, and provide around $50 million in tax revenue for state & local governments — revenue that many other states are chasing (and securing). Some however, like Senator Derek Stanford question how realistic $50 million is, and say a huge volume of bets would be needed to secure that revenue, “That does not seem possible to me,” and added that he actually projects about $4 million for the state.

King, who supports the bill, says “This is about fairness…We need to share the wealth. We need to take care of the state of Washington as well.”

What are some details of the bill to expand legalized gambling in Washington? Senate Bill 5212 details include:

  • Only licensed cardrooms and racetracks will be eligible for a betting license
  • Facilities must pay a $100,000 licensing fee
  • 10% State tax will be applied to operators on gross revenue from sports wagering on top of other related taxes
  • No betting will be allowed on college sports that take place in Washington State, on any Washington state team or a game that involves them, electronic sports, high school sports, and competitive e-sports.

Last year, a similar bill failed which would’ve seen sports gambling expanded to facilities outside of tribal oversight. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen many states who long opposed legalized betting and gambling reconsider as they look to make up for lost revenue. During the last Washington session held, a bill was opposed that would have opened sports betting to other competition.

No further action on the bill was made after the hearing.

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