Maverick’s quest for card room sports wagering a ‘risk’ to Washingtonians

The Washington Indian Gaming Association has stated Maverick Gaming’s attempts to legalise sports betting at card rooms would put “Washingtonians at risk”. 

Responding to the gambling firm’s latest attempt to convince the Washington State legislature, that saw a bipartisan supermajority of the legislature passed a law in 2020 that legalised sports betting but limited the activity to the premises of tribal casinos, WIGA noted that, if successful, it would “severely undermine” the state’s “safe and successful system”.

In a statement, Rebecca George, the Executive Director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, commented: “Our tribal gaming system is safe, responsible, and benefits communities across Washington. The system works well and strikes the right balance. 

“The option to participate in gaming activities is available to responsible adults, but through compacts, additional tribal investments, and community partnerships we have minimised the negative social consequences that can sometimes result from gambling.

“In their own words, Maverick wants to ‘bring sports betting to the mass population of Washington.’ But Washington voters and elected officials have decisively rejected previous efforts to uproot our existing system and massively expand non-tribal gaming. 

“The public’s resistance to major gambling expansions in their neighbourhoods and local communities remains strong. 

“Washington State tribes continue to strongly oppose Maverick’s gambling expansion legislation. It would severely undermine Washington State’s safe and successful system of gaming and would put Washingtonians at risk, and we call on legislative leaders to once again reject it.”

As part of a new bill submitted by Maverick, the firm is calling for card rooms to legalise sports betting on the premise, the bill states, that before sports wagering may be conducted by card room or racetracks, the commission must analyse the impacts of legalised sports wagering on problem gambling.  

It also reads that the legislature authorises sports wagering via retail and online sports pools by a cardroom or racetrack. 

Maverick Gaming owns around 20 neighbourhood card rooms throughout Washington state. These include up to 15 tables where customers can play poker, blackjack, baccarat and other games. 

However, the premise does not include slot machines, which are reserved for the state’s 29 tribal casinos as well as sports betting, as it currently stands. 

In 2018, the US Supreme Court overturned a federal law that banned sports gambling. This allowed states the opportunity to create their own rulings. In 2020, the Washington legislature confirmed that sports wagering would be accessible in the state but only on Native American land. 

Speaking in a recently published article by Fox News, Maverick Gaming’s CEO, Eric Persson, stated that he hopes his suit will make it to the US Supreme Court and emphasised that he has the resources to “go all the way” while stating that Maverick will win while “having a lot of fun”.