Maverick Gaming challenges Washington tribal monopoly in court

By Gambling Insider

Maverick Gaming has filed a lawsuit challenging the application of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in Washington.

Maverick Gaming, represented by Gibson Dunn, suggests the IGRA is being used inappropriately to give tribes exclusive rights to certain types of gaming, such as sports betting, that are not allowed in non-tribal gaming properties in Washington State.

Eric Persson, CEO and Co-founder of Maverick Gaming, said: “We support and respect tribal equality and sovereignty. Our decision to file this litigation is founded on the same values that we have brought to all of our efforts at Maverick Gaming.

"We are proud of our union-led workforce in Washington that offers family-wage jobs with benefits and a pension, helping create access to economic opportunity in communities across my home state.”

He highlighted that access to economic opportunity should rely on a fair application of laws (such as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act I).

Persson added that he has high hopes in regard to the lawsuit, which he expects to successfully resolve the issue, so that tribal casinos and smaller commercial cardrooms (like those owned by Maverick Gaming) would be allowed to offer the same types of legal gaming that commercial cardrooms and tribal casinos already offer in other states.

Rebecca George, Executive Director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA), has issued a statement in response to the federal lawsuit filed by Maverick Gaming.

She described the lawsuit as "a desperate attempt" to change the law and the will of the Washington State legislature, as well as the decision of the general public.

The statement read: "It would severely undermine the well regulated and safe system of limited gaming that has been established in Washington State over three decades of carefully negotiated compacts between the State of Washington and Native American tribes.”

Currently, Washington State allows commercial cardrooms to offer a maximum of 15 tables for house-banked card games. There are 44 licensed such cardrooms throughout the state and the average cardroom is smaller than the destination tribal properties in the state.

Maverick Gaming owns and operates 19 cardrooms in Washington.

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