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Washington State to consider new sports betting bills


Lawmakers in Washington State are to consider bills that have been introduced to legalise certain forms of sports wagering.

Senate Bill 6277 is currently with the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, while its accompanying House Bill, HB 2478, is with the House Commerce and Gaming Committee.

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.

Sponsored by Republican Senators Curtis King and Ann Rivers, the bill sets out a 10% tax on sports betting revenue. All tax revenue collected from wagers placed on tribal land would be allocated to the tribe responsible for that area.

Sports betting licenses would differ in cost, with card rooms and racetracks to pay an initial $500,000, in addition to yet-to-be determined renewal fees. The bill did not disclose any other costs relating to licenses, but did state that licenses would run for a period of five years, after which they must be renewed.

Each tribal casino and sports betting licensee would only be permitted to run one branded wagering website, though this could be accompanied by a mobile application under the same brand.

Licensees would be prohibited from betting on any collegiate sporting events held in the state, as well as on Washington’s college teams.

Casinos and sports wagering licensees would be allowed to contract with an entity to conduct online betting, subject to approval from the Washington State Gambling Commission, which would regulate the state’s market.

All employees working within the state’s sports betting industry would need to be licensed as a sports wagering key employee or registered as a sports wagering employee.

Meanwhile, the accompanying HB 2478 sets out similar proposals, with the backing of Republican Representative Brandon Vick.

It is not yet clear when either bill will progress to the next stage, although the Washington 2020 legislative session only opened this week. The Democrats currently control both the House and Senate in the state.

In July last year, the Washington State Gambling Commission hosted a number of hearings to gather public opinion on sports betting in the state. Those that were in attendance discussed three, older bills that set out alternative proposals for sports wagering in Washington.