Browse articles by topic

Maverick Gaming appeals tribal sports betting lawsuit dismissal


Cardroom operator Maverick Gaming has filed an opening brief in the United States Court of Appeals, as part of an ongoing challenge into what it views as a tribal sports betting monopoly in the state of Washington.

It was filed for the Ninth Circuit.

In January 2022, Maverick Gaming filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

The lawsuit alleged that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was being applied “inappropriately” in Washington, as it gives tribes exclusive access to offer sports betting on their properties.

It also challenged Washington’s tribal sports betting compacts.

Tribes were given the right to offer sports betting in Washington in March 2020, when Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2638 into law.

The bill allowed Class III facilities to offer in-person sports betting. However, this did not apply to commercial cardrooms in the state. Attempts to extend this to commercial cardrooms have fallen flat.

Maverick Gaming appeal

A federal judge dismissed Maverick Gaming’s case in February 2023. This forms the basis of Maverick Gaming’s new appeal.

Theodore B. Olsen, lead attorney for Maverick Gaming, said that the operator intends to continually challenge the dismissal.

“We respectfully disagree with the district court’s decision to dismiss the case,” he said. “The rule adopted by the court would entirely foreclose judicial review of any approval by the Secretary of the Interior of a Tribal-State compact.”

“We have appealed this ruling to the Ninth Circuit, and intend to vigorously litigate the case.”

Eric Persson, CEO of Maverick Gaming said that the operator will someday offer sports betting at its premises, whether it’s through a Supreme Court ruling or through the state legislature.

“I know that our perspective on sports betting is at odds with those who prefer a monopoly for Tribal casinos, but I respect their right to advocate for their members,” said Persson.

“Maverick Gaming will one day offer sports betting at its properties in our state, either following a ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States or an inclusive policy discussion by the state legislature that is founded in facts.”

“A direct attack”

But Rebecca George, executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, called the legal challenge “a direct attack” on Washington’s tribal compacts.

“Maverick’s lawsuit is a direct attack on the carefully negotiated Tribal-State Gaming Compacts authorized by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which over the last three decades has been a pathway for tribes to regain their self-reliance by generating revenue to lift tribal communities out of poverty and fund critical governmental programs,” she said.

“The lower court decision to dismiss the case was correct, and stands as a strong ratification of long-standing principles of tribal sovereignty.”

“Washington State tribes remain united in opposing Maverick’s ongoing efforts to undermine tribal sovereignty and the Tribal-State compacts.”