Maverick files litigation to challenge Washington’s ‘tribal gaming monopoly’


Maverick Gaming has filed litigation to challenge what it dubs “an erroneous application of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act”.

This, the company says, is being used inappropriately to give tribes exclusive rights to certain types of gaming, such as sports betting, that are not allowed in non-tribal gaming properties in Washington state.

The company’s legal representative adds that the state is misusing IGRA to “create tribal monopolies on certain types of gaming,” in addition producing “tribal monopolies on certain types of gaming”.

“We support and respect tribal equality and sovereignty,” said Eric Persson, CEO and co-founder of Maverick Gaming. “Our decision to file this litigation is founded on the same values that we have brought to all of our efforts at Maverick Gaming. 

“We are proud of our union-led workforce in Washington that offers family-wage jobs with benefits and a pension, helping create access to economic opportunity in communities across my home state. 

“That access to economic opportunity relies on a fair application of laws such as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and I am hopeful that this lawsuit will resolve successfully so that tribal casinos and smaller commercial cardrooms like those owned by Maverick Gaming may offer the same types of legal gaming, such as sports betting, just like commercial cardrooms and tribal casinos already offer in other states.”

In response, the Washington Indian Gaming Association has called the lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, a “desperate attempt to overturn federal law” which it says represents the sentiments of the general public in the region.

“It would severely undermine the well regulated and safe system of limited gaming that has been established in Washington state over three decades of carefully negotiated compacts between the state of Washington and native American tribes,” responded Rebecca George, executive director of WIGA.

“Those compacts are fully in keeping with the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, as well as with state law, and have been repeatedly vetted at multiple levels of regulatory oversight. 

“In short, this dangerous and destructive lawsuit is without merit, and were it to somehow be successful it would cause irreparable harm not only to historically marginalised tribal communities but also to the broader public, which opposes a massive expansion of gambling in their neighbourhoods and communities. 

“We will be reviewing their complaint more carefully, but Washington state’s tribes stand united in opposing any attempt to undermine the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, tribal compacts, and what the tribes have worked so hard to build.”