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Washington to hold public hearing on sports betting regulation


The Washington State Gambling Commission is seeking public input on the future of sports gambling in Washington, including discussion of three bills that were introduced during the 2019 legislative session.

At its public meeting on July 11, 2019, at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, the Gambling Commission will discuss the current sports gambling bills – HB 1975, HB 1992, SB 5965 – before the Legislature.

House Bill 1975 authorizes sports betting only within tribal casinos. Gambling information may be transmitted over the Internet under the proposed bill, but wagers may not be placed online.

“Tribes have more than twenty years’ experience with, and a proven 11 track record of, successfully operating and regulating gaming 12 facilities in accordance with tribal gaming compacts,” the bill said. It is sponsored by Democratic representatives Eric Pettigrew, Steve Kirby, Marcus Riccelli, Joe Fitzgibbon, Monica Jurado Stonier, Steve Tharinger, Gerry Pollet and Republican representative Jim Walsh.

There are 29 federally recognized Indian tribes in Washington state, all of whom have a gaming compact with the state.

House Bill 1992 — sponsored by republican representative Joe Shmick — would allow sports betting only on-site at licensed horse racing tracks.

Senate Bill 5965, meanwhile, is a title-only bill sponsored by Republican senator Ann Rivers.

At the public meeting, commission staff will provide an overview of the bills and how each of them could impact the state, if passed into law. Commissioners will seek public comment on these bills as well as general comments on sports gambling legalization in Washington.

“If the Legislature authorizes sports gambling, we expect to be the primary state regulator,” said Commission Chair Bud Sizemore. “It is essential for us to hear from the public before we make any regulatory policy recommendations to the Legislature for the 2020 session.”

Commissioners and staff are expected to continue discussions on sports gambling at the following upcoming meetings on Aug. 8, Sept. 12, Oct. 10 and Nov. 14 2019 at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Olympia.

Members of the public who are unable to attend a meeting are encouraged to submit comments using the Gambling Commission’s online comment form.

The Washington legislature will resume its activities in January 2020, having adjourned on April 28.