Gaming Boon for Washington
By Earl
Advocates of expanding gambling beyond tribal lands in the state have claimed that the state would benefit by the expansion, by “$500 million in new revenue for state and local governments during the next two years.” The expansion would allow “restaurants, lounges, taverns, bars, mini-casinos, private clubs and charitable organizations to offer video gambling machines,” which are now lawful only in casinos owned by Indian tribes.

Various advocacy groups under the name of The Entertainment Industry Coalition propose a bill that would put a 25% tax on the net proceeds from the new machines. The coalition are behind the idea of putting a majority of the tax revenue to the state, and the rest to local governments. The coalition estimate $206 million a year could be raised for the state and $51 million for local governments.

The shortfall of the current annual state budget is $2.4 billion.

The proposal is doing the rounds amongst state legislators who are thought to be favorable to gambling expansion in Washington. If the bill is adopted and introduced and passed as is, mini-casinos and other gambling venues would be able to operate alongside tribal gambling businesses. Up to 19,000 new video slot machines would be seen around the state.

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