In May 2018, a federal ban on sports betting has been removed and since then, over 20 states have legalized some aspect of online and sports betting. As it seems, Washington might finally be ready to join the other states in legalizing sports betting with the two bills being considered at the moment.
Time is of Essence
Bills HB 2478 and SB 6277 aim to legalize online and land-based gambling at casinos, card rooms, and also racetracks across Washington State. At the moment, time is the most important factor because the state’s legislature will only meet during this session for 60 days since it is a non-budget year and for the bill to become law, it needs to get out of the committee till the first week of February because once it gets out of the committee, it needs to be reviewed by the House and the Senate prior to reaching the desk of the Governor. In order for the bill to be approved, two-thirds of the votes are needed.
Last Year’s Failure Might Mean Tomorrow’s Successes
In 2019, three sports betting bills were considered but none reached the Governor. However, this year has no important state’s issues in need of consideration which is why the public believes that it is the right moment for the betting bill to get the much-needed attention.
The Senate and the House are looking at different bills and the House is inspecting the more comprehensive one that includes taxation on all gaming revenue as well as the legalization of both land-based and online betting.
The Author of the Bill
Brandon Vick is the bill’s author and he is proposing that all operators should pay $500,000 application fee. The fee would further be used in K-12 programs in the state and in assisting the ones going to college.
Representative Vick gave an official statement saying: “I want the full discussion to take place…And for political reasons, if we have to narrow down, that’s great. That’s how politics works, right? But how can you move a bill that is big, a bill that is going to have a lot of people pro and con, and avoid as many objections as possible at the beginning?”
If any of the two bills become law, implementation is expected to be quick because the state already has 30 tribal casinos and one racetrack.
Two Sports Betting Bill Considered in Washington State