Despite a reported large amount of interest on the part of both lawmakers and aficionados, the western American state of Washington will likely not pass legislation to officially legalize sportsbetting until at least sometime in 2021.
According to a Saturday report from The News Tribune newspaper, this is the opinion of Dave Trujillo, Executive Director for the Washington State Gambling Commission, and comes as the neighboring state of Oregon is preparing to launch a legalized mobile-friendly sportsbetting service in time for the start of this year’s National Football League (NFL) season in September.
The newspaper reported that Trujillo used an exclusive interview to reveal that he is expecting to see a flurry of sportsbetting-related measures considered at committee stage throughout 2020 but that advocates will probably have to wait until the following year to see any such legislation put to House and Senate votes. In the meantime, the regulator stated that he and his staff are keeping the other four members of the Washington State Gambling Commission up to speed on associated moves being enacted in other states.
The News Tribune reported that eight states have so far launched some form of legalized sportsbetting in the 14 months since a ruling from the United States Supreme Court invalidated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This club had once purportedly only contained Nevada but is set to grow even bigger as another seven states including Oregon alongside the District of Columbia have subsequently passed enabling legislation without yet premiering a service.
Trujillo moreover declared that he expects this year’s debut of a mobile-friendly sportsbetting service for Oregon will spur on moves to launch a similar facility for residents of ‘The Evergreen State.’ Set to utilize a platform from British developer SBTech, the coming service from the Oregon State Lottery will exploit geo-fencing technology to prohibit any out-of-state punters from being able to place a wager.
Trujillo told The News Tribune…
“Washington residents are going to say to Washington legislators; ‘Hey, this is just miles down the road. Why don’t we do something to keep the play in our state rather than going to contribute to the coffers of Oregon?’”
Washington State Senator, Steve Conway, recently used a meeting of the Washington State Gambling Commission to ask multiple questions regarding the inner workings of legalized sportsbetting. The experienced Democratic politician even purportedly went so far as to inquire as whether there was an existing regulatory model that his state could adopt in order to speed up the process.
Trujillo gave the following statement…
“There’s a smorgasboard of sportsbetting food out there because all states look to act and create the laws and regulatory program that is best for them. So far, there’s no good model policy out there because they’re all tailored, uniquely tailored, to their state and we would expect our legislature to do something similar.”
Another member of the Washington State Gambling Commission, Chris Stearns, seemingly agreed with this opinion by explaining that Washington legislators should be prepared to learn from the bad and the good seen as other jurisdictions implement legal sportsbetting services.
Stearns reportedly told the newspaper…
“It’s pretty remarkable how quickly other states have jumped into sportsbetting. To me at least, there’s a lot to be learned by seeing what others do, borrowing from the success of others and learning from the mistakes of others. That can take some time.”
Trujillo furthermore stated that the black market in illegal sportsbetting will likely grow as even more states launch services and the activity becomes more socially acceptable.
More specifically, he said…
“Historically speaking, as activities become tolerated, they become more prevalent. When they become more prevalent, they become more accepted and people will then conduct their own games or activities outside of regulated and taxable structures.”
Domains to blame:
As to where this illicit gambling is taking place, Brian Considine, Legal and Legislative Manager for the Washington State Gambling Commission, reportedly pointed the finger of blame directly at the online sphere and the many offshore sites that the state cannot currently control.
“If you want to bet in this state illegally, it might take you a lot of energy and effort but eventually the way you’re going to do it is online. In fact, even if you find an illegal bookie somewhere, they’re going to probably direct you to an online website that’s offshore because that’s managing their risk.”