Washington State Cardrooms Bet Limit Increased to $400
Washington’s cardroom operators are celebrating a recent victory, as the state’s Gambling Commission has approved an increase in the wager limit from $300 to $400.
This is the first increase in 14 years for the state’s cardrooms. Maverick Gaming is a growing casino and cardroom operator in the region, and it was also at the center of petitions to raise cardroom limits in this case.
The increase was approved earlier this week by a narrow 3-2 vote by the Gambling Commission.
“I have a pretty big investment in the state, have a pretty big investment in cardrooms, and we’re trying to figure out how do we make it be vibrant,” said Eric Persson, CEO of Maverick Gaming.
“Today’s vote is evidence of the professional engagement of our entire team with our regulators.”
Petition Led by Maverick Gaming
The company initially proposed a limit of $500. However, after extensive negotiations and public hearings, the $400 figure was agreed upon.
It recently acquired its 23rd gambling venue in Washington, The All-Star Lanes and Casino in Silverdale. The business has been a popular local community spot, combining gambling, bowling, and dining since 1985.
“Maverick Gaming is proud of its ongoing investment in local communities and jobs across our state,” said Persson at the time of the acquisition.
Opposition from Tribal Casinos
Despite the victory for cardroom operators, the decision has been met with opposition from Washington’s federally recognized tribes.
They argue that the increase violates a state law that requires “social card games” to serve only as a means to increase food and beverage sales.
“We believe the boundaries will be gone beyond if you adopt this petition,” stated Luke Esser, representing the Kalispel Tribe.
There are some 30 tribal casinos in the state, where limits at card gaming tables are $500.
“If anything, the smaller ‘mom and pop’ establishments have been squeezed from the market as the remaining operators consolidate, acquire market share from these smaller establishments, and brand themselves as ‘casinos.’ This seems a far cry from the legislature’s original intent,” said a Washington Indian Gaming Association letter sent to state legislators last month.
Trying to Compete
The increase in the wager limit is a significant win for Maverick Gaming, which has been striving to compete on equal terms with tribal casinos.
The company had previously attempted, without success, to get lawmakers to permit sports betting in cardrooms. Following the decision, Maverick Gaming is now challenging the state’s sports betting compacts with the tribes in federal court.
“We [already] don’t have sports betting. It already hurts our business on the weekends. But what can we do? At the end of the day, all we’re trying to do is compete,” Persson said in a recent community hearing.
The new betting limit will take effect 31 days after the filing of the new rule with the code reviser. This change is expected to significantly impact the state’s gambling landscape, potentially leading to increased competition and innovation in the sector.