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January 25, 2023 Sports Betting, Poker, Tribal, Legal

Maverick Gaming files lawsuit over sports betting ‘discrimination’ in Washington State

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The company’s CEO argues that the Tribal monopoly on sports betting is unconstitutional.

Maverick Gaming CEO Eric Persson is battling it out with Tribal casinos in Washington, arguing that they have unfairly monopolized sports betting in the state. He is suing both state and federal officials for the right to provide the service – and indicated his willingness to take the issue to the Supreme Court.

Persson stated that: “There's zero circumstances in which I'd settle. I have the resources to go all the way and so do they. So there's going to be a battle, we're going have a lot of fun, and I'm going to win. That's what makes it fun."

Maverick Gaming owns around 20 neighborhood card rooms throughout the state, which Persson refers to as ‘Cheers’ style bars. They usually house a bar, restaurant and about 15 tables dedicated to various card games including poker, blackjack and baccarat.

Slot machines are notably absent at Maverick establishments, as this industry is reserved for the state's 29 Tribal casinos. And – for now at least – so is sports betting. Persson’s confidence is notable due to Native American Tribes' dominance over gambling in the Evergreen State.

As Republican State Senator Curtis King remarked, they “have a lot of clout in our legislature.” King sponsored a commercial bill in 2020 that would have extended sports wagering to card rooms and mobile apps but “they were able to stop that bill from moving forward."

Maverick Gaming sued the state and federal government, alleging Washington's implementation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) has created Tribal monopolies on some forms of gambling.

The lawsuit claims that IGRA breaks the Constitution’s equal protection clause by: “Irrationally and impermissibly discriminating on the basis of race and ancestry."

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