Washington has an original idea about sports betting

Posted By: Date: 02/10/2015 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

By now, you’ve likely heard about Chris Christie’s quest to legalize online sports betting, which would be a stepping stone to the legalization of online gambling. Even though the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots are about to go head-to-head in arguably one of the biggest matchups of all time, you’re not going to be able to bet on it, thanks to the large sports leagues – but what if there’s another way?

Enter Washington. The fact that I’m even bringing up Washington is a surprise in itself, as Washington is one of the nation’s stricted anti-gambling states in the United States. Yet, here we are.

Washington’s got a new and original idea – let’s decriminalize sports gambling. However, there’s a twist – they want to decriminalize fantasy sports gambling.

I know what you’re thinking – but you need to change that thought right now. Fantasy sports leagues are a huge success, and the decriminalization of any form of online gambling is huge news, so this is no exception.

Right now, Washington considers fantasy sports gambling a form of gambling. It’s criminalized in the state, and if a person is found guilty, it’s punishable as a felony.

An estimate of fantasy sports leagues in Washington alone states that there’s 500,000 fantasy league players. That’s more than half of the population of Delaware, where online gambling is legal.

How are they going to go about doing this without legalized anything else? Simple. They’re going to be reclassified.

Senator Pam Roach and other local leaders are considering planning to reclassify fantasy sports leagues as games of skill rather than luck-based gambling. This would allow players the opportunity to compete with others for cash and prizes, possibly even in sponsored leagues. Sites could and would take full advantage of this, offering promotions, such as no deposit bonuses, just as they do for regular online gambling sites in states where it’s legal. Online gambling and regular sports betting would remain illegal in Washington.

This is something that we hadn’t even considered, and it’s brilliant. Fantasy sports gambling is the perfect way to allow residents to get that sports betting thrill without having any of the larger sports leagues upset. While it wouldn’t be legalized quick enough to take advantage of the Super Bowl, it may be passed in time for the World Series later this year. If it’s presented properly, it could very well be a stepping stone to legalized sports betting, which, of course, is a stepping stone to legalized online gambling.

The quest to legalize online gambling hasn’t been an easy one, and it certainly hasn’t been one where someone can just throw a switch and yell “Okay, it’s done!” It’s been a quest full of tiny steps, and to be honest, we hadn’t considered that the tiny step (legalized online sports betting) could have a tinier step in front of that (legalized online fantasy sports betting).

Still, a win in a win when you’re talking about legalized betting and gambling in any form or fashion, and for a state that’s so strictly anti-gambling to even consider changing their policies shows that someone’s paying attention to the revenue that comes from states where online gambling is legalized.

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