The results of a federal lawsuit against state officials and tribal casinos are known: it has been discarded.
Illegitimate monopoly for tribal casinos:
State officials have been accused of granting tribal casinos an illegitimate monopoly on sports betting. Tossing out these accusations again prevented Maverick Gaming from bidding for the sports gaming license.
Maverick Gaming, a famous Kirkland gaming company that operates various card rooms in Snohomish County and the whole state, didn’t want to validate the compact amendments that once again allowed Washington tribes to offer sports betting services in casinos they operate.
In January 2022, the company’s lawyers claimed that the amendments violated federal law. By law, tribal casinos can offer gaming activities only if they were previously allowed by the state for both tribal and non-tribal casinos.
The Shoalwater Bay Tribe tried to dismiss the process in October last year when the defendant intervened. The tribes weren’t named in the case because of their sovereign immunity, but everyone knew it was about them, which is why the authorities couldn’t proceed.
David Estudillo, Western District of Washington’s Chief Judge, said: “The court finds that Shoalwater has not waived its sovereign immunity and cannot be joined to this action,” he wrote. “Absent an express waiver by Congress or a clear and unequivocal waiver by the tribe, tribes retain sovereign immunity from suit.”
The state regulated sports betting in 2020, and twenty tribes agreed to that, starting to offer that form of betting in their casinos. However, Maverick Gaming is still unsatisfied with the Court’s decision, so the company will appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Maverick Gaming hopes the Court of Appeals will decide in their favor.
CEO and co-founder of Maverick Gaming, Eric Persson, an enrolled member of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe, said: “We expect that this will be resolved by the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Charlene Nelson, chair of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe, said: “The ruling today is a complete vindication of our assertion that Maverick Gaming has been attempting to undermine the sovereign rights of Indian tribes not just here in Washington State, but nationally as well. We appreciate that Judge Estudillo understood that and has now dismissed the case.”
She said it was painful to oppose one of the tribe’s members, but Maverick’s case could greatly harm the tribal communities.
Rapidly growing industry:
In Washington, sports betting is allowed on professional, collegiate, international, e-sports, and Olympic sports. However, it’s prohibited to bet on college teams from Washington, as well as on minor league sports and high school teams or youth athletics.
Betting is allowed on mobile devices and retail casino properties, but it’s prohibited to bet on golf courses or convenience stores outside the casinos.
The American Gaming Association revealed that the revenue from sports betting hit a record last year, with $93.2 billion achieved.
Tribal casinos gained a net revenue of $94 million in 2021, but in the following years, the revenue is expected to grow to $1.5 billion.