Eight Washington state legislators, only one of whom is Republican, are sponsoring House Bill 1975 that would authorize tribes to conduct sports wagering “on a very limited basis.”
Under the category of “other sports”, as opposed to say the Seahawks, the Huskies, or even the Cougars, fantasy sports – where participants assemble imaginary teams of real players – are illegal to bet on by Washington residents.
The legislature has generally taken a hard line against such online activities.
In 2005, two bills sought to legalize fantasy sports, so-called games of skill that generate billions of dollars bet where it’s legal in 40 other states.
That attempt stalled however over the debate as to whether luck or expertise controlled the outcome.
But that was then, and this is now.
Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) was behind the fantasy sports wagering bill then in 2005, and he’s sponsoring the real sports wagering bill now.
Evidently, now, with Democrats in control of both houses, luck no longer is a factor and even if it is the Dems no longer take a dim view of the proceedings as long as it’s not them doin’ it.
Let the tribes do it.
A fantasy no longer, real teams with real players could be bet on by real people as long as, according the wording of HB 1975, the bet is placed while the bettor is physically present on tribal lands.
This ‘must-be-present-to-win’ or at least to-play requirement, according to Geoff Baker writing for “The Seattle Times”, would necessitate a “virtual geographic boundary around the property” (so walls do work?) “to trigger a response once the customer leaves the area.”
Hopefully the technology will not vaporize the customer but only certify the placement of his bet.
Other than that, what possibly could go wrong?
If individuals are physically present on tribal lands when placing their bets but use out of state credit cards, then the gambling commission for the state – which oversees this three-billion-dollar industry – can simply claim they lack the resources to prosecute.
If the tribes should somehow be compromised by distributing payouts to out-of-state companies having infiltrated the virtual wall, then the Democrats can absolve themselves of any responsibility for having ever suggested such a thing and smack the hands of the tribes all while washing their own.
Pilate did that too.
If, on the other hand, all goes according to Hoyle, or in this case according to Pettigrew and friends, and there just happens to be financial remunerations, er, contributions to the Democrats’ campaigns from the tribes, well, then, that’s just doing politics, er, business.
A sweetheart of a deal as we approach Valentine’s Day.