The 25 federally recognized tribes of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Spokane Tribe of Indians are unified in supporting HB 2638 and companion bill SB 6394, authorizing sports wagering subject to the terms of tribal-state gaming compacts.
“This legislation daylights, minimizes and effectively regulates sports betting in Washington so that it is contained and safe,” said W. Ron Allen, Chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Chairman of the Washington Indian Gaming Association. “Tribes have successfully partnered with the State and responsibly managed gaming for years, using the funds to improve lives of all Washingtonians.”
The proposed legislation will help tribes continue to provide essential governmental services to both tribal members and the non-tribal broader community, while minimizing a large expansion of gambling and problem gaming challenges. Plus, the legislation keeps sports betting revenues in Washington—benefiting all Washingtonians. This legislation stands in stark contrast to a bill being promoted by out-of-state, commercial gaming operators who want to see sports betting everywhere.
What Gaming Means to Tribal Communities
Tribal governments in Washington rely on gaming revenue for essential government services allowing for self-sufficiency. Gaming revenues provide critical housing, healthcare, education, natural resources and jobs to our communities.
Tribal Gaming Benefits All of Washington
Tribal facilities also benefit the surrounding non-tribal community, as they are major employers and purchasers of goods and services. Unlike out-of-state commercial operators, including Maverick Gaming, the tax monies and revenue generated from tribal casinos stay in Washington.
In 2017, the Indian economy in Washington State yielded more than $5.3 billion in gross state product, producing an estimated $722 million in state and local government revenue, plus an additional $352 million in one-time capital expenditures. Tribes, combined, are the state’s 8th largest employer.
Tribal gaming creates opportunities—living wage jobs, sustainable career paths and economic prospects that benefit tribal and non-tribal families and communities.
Avoiding Widespread Gambling
In contrast, Nevada-based Maverick Gaming is supporting competing legislation that would authorize widespread sports betting. HB 2478/SB 6277 would allow sports betting everywhere—in card rooms and on our mobile devices. States like New Jersey have opted for this ‘gaming everywhere’ approach. But concerns about the accessibility risks, particularly to children and other vulnerable populations, makes this the wrong approach for Washington.
Under the tribal-supported legislation, the Washington state gaming footprint would not expand; it would stay within areas where gambling is currently allowed by law.
Understanding and Addressing Risks
It’s essential to consider the potential impacts sports betting could have on vulnerable populations. We believe legislation that limits where sports betting takes place and relies on the existing proven, established regulatory structure is the best way to make sports betting legal and safe.
In addition, those offering sports betting must do all they can to confront problem gambling. Tribes are already leading efforts to prevent, identify and address problem gambling. Since 2008, tribes have contributed more than $19 million to support a wide range of solutions. Tribes are the main source of funding for problem gambling programs in Washington.
Regulating Sports Betting Under a Proven System
Limiting sports wagering to tribal facilities under existing compacts would best contain and regulate sports betting in Washington. Tribes and the State have been successfully regulating gaming for 28 years and the current gaming structure is proven.
Show your support
Let legislators know you support tribal sports betting legislation. Comment on the House and/or Senate bills now!
House Bill 2638: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/2638
Senate Bill 6394: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/6394
Let legislators know what gaming means to tribal and non-tribal communities alike in Washington and why this is the best way to effectively regulate sports betting and make it safe.