Legal fight ongoing

Maverick Gaming appeals dismissal in legal battle against Washington tribal sports betting

Reading time 1:45 min

Cardroom operator Maverick Gaming has filed an opening brief in the United States Court of Appeals, continuing its legal challenge against what it views as a tribal sports betting monopoly in the state of Washington. The appeal comes after Maverick Gaming's case was dismissed by a federal judge in February 2023. 

"We respectfully disagree with the district court's decision to dismiss the case. We have appealed this ruling to the Ninth Circuit and intend to vigorously litigate the case," stated Theodore B. Olsen, lead attorney for Maverick Gaming.

Maverick Gaming argues that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) is being applied "inappropriately" in Washington, granting tribes exclusive rights to offer sports betting on their properties. The operator also challenges the tribal sports betting compacts in the state.

Rebecca George

Rebecca George, Executive Director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, views Maverick Gaming's legal challenge as "a direct attack" on the tribal compacts in Washington. She also emphasized the importance of these compacts in generating revenue to support tribal communities.

"Maverick's lawsuit is a direct attack on the carefully negotiated Tribal-State Gaming Compacts authorized by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which over the last three decades has been a pathway for tribes to regain their self-reliance," George stated.

Maverick Gaming's CEO, Eric Persson, remains determined to offer sports betting at the company's properties, whether through a Supreme Court ruling or legislative changes in the state: "I know that our perspective on sports betting is at odds with those who prefer a monopoly for Tribal casinos, but I respect their right to advocate for their members."

Eric Persson

"Maverick Gaming will one day offer sports betting at its properties in our state, either following a ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States or an inclusive policy discussion by the state legislature that is founded in facts," he added.

The legal battle between Maverick Gaming and Washington State's tribes continues, with the operator appealing the court's dismissal in hopes of challenging the tribal sports betting monopoly. Tribes were given the right to offer sports betting in Washington in March 2020, when Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2638 into law.

Under state law, Class III facilities are allowed to offer in-person sports betting, but commercial cardrooms in the state do not receive the same privilege. Attempts to extend the market to commercial cardrooms have thus far fallen flat.

It is now up to the defendants, which include Inslee and Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, to respond to Maverick Gaming's lawsuit. The group filed for an extension earlier this week. The response brief is due on Sept. 1.

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