Sports Betting Lawsuit Filed By Card-Room Operator in Washington State

Maverick Gaming, LLC, owner of 19 of the 44 gaming rooms in the state of Washington, recently filed a federal lawsuit against state officials claiming that Native American casinos were illegally permitted to engage in betting that was believed to be a “discriminatory tribal gaming monopoly.” This lawsuit may temporarily place all betting on hold, which has gamers and gaming room owners experiencing heightened stress levels. Gamers may have to wait until the lawsuit is settled to participate in their usual gambling, which includes roulette, craps, and more.

Sports betting was approved for tribal casinos in March of 2020 and went into effect in September of 2021. Maverick’s owner, Eric Persson, stated that he simply wants to be treated fairly and be allowed to participate in the betting just as tribal establishments are. Persson feels that the ability to participate in the same types of gambling as tribal members are would create substantially more jobs and dramatically increase the amount of revenue that is brought in at all gaming rooms.

Prior to filing the lawsuit, Persson reports having made several attempts to lobby lawmakers over the past few years, in an effort to request that sports gambling be permitted at all casinos instead of limiting it just to tribal establishments. However, after several unsuccessful attempts at obtaining a hearing, Persson decided that filing a lawsuit was the next logical step.

The executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, Rebecca George, has responded to the lawsuit and feels that Maverick Gaming, LLC is making a desperate attempt to reverse a law that was put into place for an important purpose. The representative also predicted that if Persson’s lawsuit were to somehow end in success, that it could cause irreparable damage to tribal communities, but also to the general public.

George further stated that should this “unmerited” lawsuit be approved, that it would undermine the rules of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act as well as Washington state law. The executive director further explained that a well-established gaming system was agreed upon several decades ago and that approving Persson’s request could be extremely harmful and undue an agreement that was working optimally for so many years.