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Washington state acted irresponsibly when legalizing in-person sports betting during coronavirus pandemic

inslee coronavirus washington sports betting

In a world which is changing rapidly before our very eyes, the only logical way to wager is by using legal sports betting sites to avoid spreading coronavirus.

Despite this, the new Washington state sports betting law signed by Gov. Jay Inslee is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

Inslee, the former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, continues to tussle back and forth with President Donald Trump on Twitter and elsewhere online.

Trump is favored to win re-election (but unfortunately, not pardon the Tiger King) and has all-time high approval ratings during a national emergency.

What’s Inslee done? Signed an in-person, on-premises tribal casino-exclusive sports betting bill that shilled its way through the legislature at record pace and was even labeled an “emergency” by state lawmakers.

Washington state is among the states hit the hardest by the coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins map.

WHO and CDC health officials strongly advise social distancing at a minimum of six feet to protect essential health care and workers while urging all Americans to stay home to slow the spread of the global pandemic.

Here is the Washington Department of Health recommendations at the beginning of March:

“Do not attend large events, such as sporting events, conferences or other community events if you are sick, do not feel well or someone in your home is sick. Even if you aren’t sick, consider your risk of getting COVID-19 at the event before you go.”

Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in the United States took a financial beating without March Madness and most other sports. And this is only the severe first month of the outbreak.

However, online sportsbooks and mobile betting apps have managed to adapt thanks to having a robust, secure Internet-based platform during the coronavirus pandemic.

Betting on 2020 NFL Draft props, as an example, is easy and 100% germ-free when the licensed operator has the freedom to call an audible on odds offered and flexibility to accept bets 100% digitally.

Despite knowing this from the beginning and declaring a state emergency for Washington a month ago, Gov. Inslee signed in-person only sports betting legislation that passed at the speed of sound to appease the state’s tribal casino lobbyists.

Maverick Gaming CEO Eric Persson’s company legally owns 19 of the Washington state’s 44 commercial cardrooms but isn’t eligible for a license to accept bets on sports under the language of the new law.

The CEO continues to say he plans to file a lawsuit to challenge the “emergency” amendment, which states:

“This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately.”

Persson has a vested interest in Washington making sports betting legal as a proven business owner in good standing, for the record.

“The emergency clause is something we welcome because we think it’s flawed logic, and there is no emergency. We think ultimately through litigation this legislation would probably be thrown out,” Persson said.

But with that said, lawmakers passing tribal-exclusive legislation to authorize their casino sportsbooks to accept in-person bets is irresponsible behavior from elected officials.

And attaching the “emergency” amendment when real emergencies are happening outside puts the entire state of Washington at risk even more during this state and national outbreak.

On top of everything: Mobile wagering is only allowed on the premises of the casino, which is a slap in the face to every WA bettor quarantining responsibly during the pandemic.

Washington may be the first in 2020 to join the list of legal sports betting states, but in-person sportsbooks must not launch before the COVID-19 is gone.

If regulators ignore that warning, then state residents will be forced to place high stakes wagers on their life just to have a chance to beat the bookie’s odds legally.

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