Following below is suggested text for use in contacting your legislators about sports betting. Please copy and paste into a letter or the body of an e-mail. Feel free to personalize as needed.
Re: Legalization of Sports Betting in Washington State
The State of Washington has a rich history of those who breed, own and race Thoroughbred racehorses and who own farms or participate in businesses and services that support the Washington horseracing industry. I am a participating member of that long, agricultural tradition.
The purpose of this correspondence is to ask for your support of legislation authorizing sports betting on professional sports in Washington State, and it is imperative that this legislation MUST include a provision legalizing sports betting at Emerald Downs Racetrack and the statewide off-track betting facilities regulated by the Washington Horse Racing Commission.
In May 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and found it to be unconstitutional. Since that time, six states have legalized sports betting at all racetracks, including New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The other two states where sports betting has now been legalized, Rhode Island and Mississippi, do not have racetracks. An additional 18 states are currently considering legalizing sports wagering and have either conducted hearings on such legislation or are in the process of developing legislation for consideration by their Legislatures.
In the State of Washington, the Gambling Commission has provided its Commissioners and the public with monthly sports gambling summaries since July 2018, and the Washington Horse Racing Commission at its October 2018 meeting discussed the feasibility of whether betting on professional sports at Emerald Downs and its OTB sites would provide an economic boost to owners and breeders of Washington-bred horses.
The answer is yes, Emerald Downs is a feasible site for sports betting, with an already established infrastructure – including parking, electrical and transponder power and uplinks, food service, a building designed for high-volume patronage, and banks of existing TVs already in place.
And yes, this would provide an economic boost to owners and breeders of Washington-bred horses.
Since 1985, horse racing’s share of the betting dollar has shrunk dramatically. In 1985, it was 21% of the wagering dollar in Washington State. By 2016, that had shrunk to less than 1%. If sports betting is legalized without the inclusion of horseracing, that share will shrink even further, thus impacting horsemen and the entire racing industry across the board.
Given the fact that the Gambling Commission and other potential stake holders in the state have been studying the feasibility of sports betting, it is a certainty that there will be legislation introduced. We urge your support of this legislation AND the inclusion of Washington’s horseracing tracks and OTBs as authorized locations.
Thank you very much for taking the time to review my correspondence in this matter. I look forward to hearing back from you.
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