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Maverick Gaming Continues Washington Sports Betting Lawsuit

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on July 10, 2023
Exterior of the US Court of Appeals Building with Maverick Gaming logo

Maverick Gaming, a cardroom operator in Washington, has filed an opening brief in the US Court of Appeals in its continued quest to operate Washington sports betting at its facilities. 

Last year, Maverick Gaming filed a lawsuit alleging that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was being applied “inappropriately” in Washington State. 

However, Chief Judge David Estudillo of the US District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed the lawsuit in February. Nonetheless, Maverick Gaming lead attorney Theodore B. Olsen, said the company intended to continue challenging the dismissal. 

Federally recognized tribes have a sports betting monopoly, says Maverick

Tribes were allowed to offer sports betting in 2020 when Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2638 into law.

The bill allowed Class III facilities to offer in-person sports betting. However, the law did not apply to commercial cardrooms in the state. Washington has 29 federally recognized Tribes, all with Class III gaming compacts. Of them, 22 tribes operate 28 gaming facilities in the state.

Maverick claims IGRA gives tribes a sports betting monopoly by boxing out other operators from entering the state. 

As posted by Olsen said in a statement:

“We respectfully disagree with the district court’s decision to dismiss the case. 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.”

Maverick continues fighting for its place in Washington sports betting

Eric Persson, CEO of Maverick Gaming, was optimistic that the company would someday offer sports betting at its premises. 

“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. 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.”

However, members of the Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA) view Maverick’s challenge as “a direct attack” on Washington’s tribal compacts.

Rebecca George, WIGA executive director said:

“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.

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

George said the tribes remain united in opposing Maverick‘s ongoing efforts to fight the ruling.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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