Last week two new bills were introduced in Washington State to legalize sports betting. One bill would allow sports betting on Professional Franchises in Washington while the other would allow betting on Youth Sports. Both of these bills have one purpose, to overturn the current ban on sports betting in Washington State. Currently in Washington State there is no regulation or licensing of sports betting. In effect this means anyone can place a bet on any game they want whether it’s a professional sport or something as silly as Popcorn Basketball.
Most people in Washington State are against legalized sports wagering. However there are a small number of individuals who actually enjoy the game and have made the effort to learn how to play the game. Unfortunately, for these individuals who have made the effort the law does not protect them from fraud and larceny by third parties. One type of person who wagers a lot of money on sports betting in Washington State is referred to as a sportsbook. Most sportsbooks will have an arrangement with tribes. Generally the rules and regulations are controlled by the tribes, but they do have some latitude when it comes to sports betting.
Two of the major reasons that Washington State is the leading state for legalized sports betting are the presence of tribal gaming and the Wazzoo Foundation. The Wazzoo Foundation operates as a non-profit entity and does not have a gaming license. They operate under the principles of fairness in gaming and Wazzoo membership is required to serve as an advisory board to the gaming commission. The Wazzoo Foundation does not collect money from individuals or corporations to fund their endeavors. However they do provide free internet service to individuals who want to wager on sports online.
Washington State is very supportive of professional and college sports teams and the local tribes would benefit greatly from an increased influx of income if legalized sports betting was legalized in the March 2021. If the local tribes were given a portion of the pot, they would certainly use this money to maintain the cultural programs and assist the youth in other ways. In essence this would be a windfall for all the local kids. And of course we all know how much better things go when the children are well taken care of.
Unfortunately the State of Washington politicians do not see eye to eye on this issue and indeed there have been several efforts to write into legislation a system which will basically regulate the sports betting industry and extract some money from the state to help out the tribes. Unfortunately, those politicians who are in favor of legalization have had their share of run ins with organized sports betting interests and losing votes. Apparently, there are some really bad people in the State capitol. Many times they try to pass laws which directly interfere with the rights of the individual to participate in sports betting.
There is yet another angle for why this particular bill is being considered in the Washington State capital. It appears that many members of the Washington State legislature are receiving kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions from the very groups that are trying to get this particular bill passed. These include sports betting groups and the Washington State Sports Betting Commission. Yes, I know I said they are connected, but that’s the only way that you can describe them. These people have definitely put the State of Washington at a disadvantage in regards to trying to make this type of law to work in the future.
If the Washington State legislature really wanted to help the sportsbook industry and protect the consumers of Washington State, they would remove the sports betting from the books and only allow wagering on events that occurred in the State of Washington. But that is just one step and Jay Inslee does not have the power to do that. So it appears that the State of Washington will have to move forward with another law.
The only way that the state of Washington will be able to move forward and stop the sportsbooks from cheating on the betting public is if we can change the games themselves. For instance, if the State of Washington wants to prevent the tribes and the local sportsbooks from allowing gaming at their sportsbooks and only allowing gambling at the state licensed casinos; then perhaps they should consider exempting the games themselves. This may be a little too drastic for some people but I think that the Washington State legislature needs to take this seriously and start considering this option.