FanDuel Sportsbooks Arrive in Washington, But Not Without Controversy

A general view of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/AFP.

As one of the most wagered on events in all of sports betting is around the corner, the number one sportsbook in America, FanDuel, has introduced retail sportsbooks in Washington casinos. Although, impending lawsuits jeopardize the status of tribal gaming in the state.

The National Football League’s most celebrated weekend and most bet-on event of 2022, the Super Bowl LVI, arrives shortly after Squaxin Island Tribe, Little Creek Casino, and the Suquamish Tribe’s Clearwater Casino launch FanDuel sportsbooks at their casinos.

“I’m really excited,” said Rion Ramirez, CEO of Port Madison Enterprises, who controls the business aspect of the Suquamish Tribe. “We are excited to have formed a partnership with FanDuel, America’s #1 sportsbook, and be their exclusive partner in Washington State.

“The joint effort between the Suquamish Tribal Gaming Commission, the Washington State Gambling Commission, FanDuel, and a number of our casino employees made this all possible, and we are thrilled that our sportsbook is now open.”

Not everyone agrees despite the positivity stemming from the Suquamish and Squaxin Island tribes. Maverick Gaming, the owner of multiple cardrooms in Washington, filed a lawsuit in January 2022, daring to challenge the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act with the belief that tribal casinos have been given the advantage with sports betting in the state.

“There’s clearly room for the both of us,” said Eric Persson, CEO of Maverick Gaming.

“This isn’t an either-or,” Persson continued. “This isn’t the tribes should have it, or the card rooms should have it. There’s room for both, and both of us will prosper and benefit. We’re looking forward to the day that where Maverick Gaming is a participant in commercial sports betting in our state.”

The Washington Indian Gaming Association opposes the lawsuit.

Rebecca George, the associations executive director, issued the following statement:

“The launch of sports betting at these tribal casinos in Washington State is another step forward on the road to greater self-determination for Washington State’s tribes. Tribal gaming is government gaming. Our tribes rely on the revenues generated by our casinos to fund critical public services for some of the most historically marginalized and underserved communities in Washington State. Tribal gaming creates good jobs and contributes billions to our state economy.”

“Our tribal gaming system is safe, responsible, and benefits communities across Washington. The system works well and strikes the right balance. The option to participate in gaming activities is available to responsible adults. Through compact, additional tribal investments, and community partnerships here in Washington State, we have minimized the negative social consequences that can sometimes result from gambling.”

George went on to claim Maverick Gaming wishes to bolster gaming “far beyond sports betting” in Washington.”

“This lawsuit demonstrates their true intent. They want to expand gaming far beyond sports betting.” George continued. “They are seeking the right to offer multiple new forms of easily accessible gambling in our neighborhoods. This is an attempt to force a huge expansion of gambling in Washington State against the will of the public and the bipartisan decisions of the legislators who represent them.”

The Las Vegas-based gambling company has filed the lawsuit in an attempt to override gaming compacts. However, casinos will benefit from the newly instated revenue stream on Super Bowl weekend, and it’s questionable whether the Maverick Gaming lawsuit will bear much weight.