Maverick Gaming Adds to Washington Footprint with Evergreen Buy

Published on: December 22, 2022, 02:07 am.

Last update: December 22, 2022, 02:07.

Maverick Gaming cemented its status as the dominant casino operator in Washington state by paying $80.47 million in cash for rival Evergreen Gaming.

Maverick Gaming
Maverick Gaming’s Eric Persson (left) in a 2022 poker tournament. His company has purchased four card rooms in Washington state. (Image: YouTube)

Evergreen operated four card rooms in the state: Chips Casino in Lakewood, Goldies Casino in Shoreline, Palace Casino in Lakewood and Riverside Casino in Tukwila. With the acquisition, Maverick operates 31 gaming venues in Colorado, Nevada and Washington state.

Strategically, this acquisition is crucial to Maverick’s continued dominance in Washington state. We expect there to be tremendous consolidation as well as operational and marketing benefits to our company as a result of this transaction. Maverick will move quickly to integrate these two companies in all respects, and we expect to see benefits from this acquisition by January,” Maverick CEO Erik Persson said in a statement.

Persson and co-founder Justin Beltram previously worked for Las Vegas Sands. Both Maverick and Evergreen are privately held companies.

Maverick Major Player Room Card from Washington

Maverick has been acquisitive in Washington, amassing more than card rooms there in recent years, and the company could add to that list in the future, which would likely swell the ranks of union members among its employees.

With the acquisition of Evergreen Gaming, Maverick operates about half of the state’s card rooms. In terms of gambling regulations, the main differences between Washington card rooms and tribal casinos are twofold. First, only tribal sites can have slot machines. Second, dealers at card rooms act as a bank, not a house. The venue makes money by charging a table limit fee for each hand played.

While the menu of gaming offerings differs, tribal operators in different states are often at odds with cardrooms, and in some cases, tribal casino entities seek to pull political leverage to make operating conditions more difficult for competitors.

In September, Maverick sold the Macau Casino in Lakewood, Wash., to Oak Street Real Estate Capita for $22.1 million.

Maverick, the tribes are butting heads over sports betting

Washington state allows sports betting, but only on and near tribal casinos. Maverick has challenged what it sees as flawed enforcement of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), suing to make the state’s sports betting market more competitive. However, that effort was halted in federal court earlier this year.

It remains to be seen what happens next in this rift, but it is clear that the state of Washington is not a significant player in the US sports betting arena. Rather, the state is an afterthought as the tribes refuse to compete and offer mobile betting.

“Maverick Gaming’s operations include more than 360 tables, 2,700 slot machines, 1,300 hotel rooms, 50 restaurants and approximately 3,500 team members. Maverick’s debt is rated BBB- by Moody’s and S&P and is majority owned by Persson and COO Beltram, who together have more than 40 years of gaming experience,” according to the statement.

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