The Washington House of Representatives has voted through a bill that would legalize land-based and online sports betting in the state, with the tribal-focused legislation now set to move forward to the Senate.
House Bill 2638 cleared the House by a vote of 83-14, and is now with the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee for further debate and discussion.
The bill, along with its companion Senate Bill 6394, would permit in-person sports wagering at tribal casinos and cardrooms, as well as mobile on-premises betting.
Players would, according to the legislation, be able to bet on any professional sports or athletics event, as well as collegiate sports, the Olympic Games and other international competitions.
While the current version of the bill does include language related to license fees and tax rates, it does not set out how much operators would pay should it come into effect.
However, the legislation does make it clear that the Washington State Gambling Commission would assume responsibility for regulating the market, including awarding the relevant licenses to operators.
HB 2638 comfortably cleared the House partially due to it being sponsored by 2o Representatives.
The bill rivals several other pieces of legislation all aimed at legalizing sports betting in Washington. SB 6277, also referred to as the Sports Wagering Act, would permit betting at authorised tribal casinos, card rooms and racetracks, as well as online, while HB 2478 sets out similar proposals.
However, SB 6277 has been with the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee since the middle of January, while HB 2478 has been with the House Commerce and Gaming Committee for a number of weeks.
Last July, the Washington State Gambling Commission hosted several hearings to gather public opinion on sports betting. Those that were in attendance discussed three, older bills that set out alternative proposals for sports betting in the state.