A gaming company is trying to halt tribal sports betting in Washington State, and a familiar face is representing it.
Ted Olson, who was leading the charge for New Jersey in its fight to repeal PASPA, identifies as the attorney representing Maverick Gaming LLC.
Maverick and its owner Eric Persson, have unsuccessfully tried to lobby state lawmakers to expand sports betting beyond tribal casinos.
According to The Seattle Times, the company’s most recent attempt was filed on Jan. 11 in US District Court in Washington, DC.
What is Maverick Gaming arguing?
Maverick, which owns and operates 19 of 44 licensed card rooms in Washington, claims state lawmakers have helped Native American casinos create a sports betting monopoly.
The Snoqualmie Tribe was the first to begin accepting wagers on Sept. 9, 2021.
Lawmakers legalized sports wagering only at tribal casinos. In particular, mobile sports betting can only be done on tribal land.
“I think there’s a big gap between the judiciary and the legislative system,” Persson said. “And I think that as that gets clarified and the legislators understand that IGRA is being applied wrongly in the state of Washington, I think they’re going to engage us. And to me, this is just a logical next step.”
The lawsuit states:
“Those activities harm Maverick by making it more difficult for Maverick to compete with the Tribes’ much broader gaming offerings in Washington,”
Is this lawsuit similar to Florida?
In a statement, Olson said:
“The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was intended to guarantee parity between tribal and nontribal gaming, but unfortunately Washington State is misusing IGRA to instead create tribal monopolies on certain types of gaming, such as sports betting,”
Maverick is hoping for a ruling similar to the one that ended sports betting in Florida.
In December, a US Federal District Court invalidated the 2021 compact between the Seminole Tribe and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In its ruling, the court said the deal was unconstitutional because it violated IGRA.
Subsequently, the tribe’s Hard Rock Sportsbook shut down.
Persson said he would abide by the same rules as tribal casinos if allowed to offer sports betting. In other words, it means mobile wagering can only conduct on-site.
“There’s room for everybody in this business,” he said. “We don’t overlap with tribes.”