Washington Gaming Commission OKs Sports Betting Amendments

Washington Gaming Commission OKs Sports Betting Amendments
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Sports betting in the state of Washington took a key step forward on Thursday.

The Washington Gaming Commission (WGC) approved 15 proposed compact amendments to co-regulate sports betting on tribal lands in Washington. The proposed compact amendments now head Gov. Jay Inslee for review.

Following final approval from tribal leaders and Inslee, the amendments will be sent to the Department of Interior for approval and publication in the federal register. If the amendments are approved seamlessly, Washington residents might be able to begin placing bets in time for the NFL season.

As it stands, only Washington’s Native American tribes are permitted to host sports betting. The state has reached tentative compact agreements with 15 tribes.

Sports Washington Residents Can Bet On

Thursday’s hearing spanned over four hours and was open to the public. The WGC highlighted the wagering system the state would employ under the rules presented. Professional sports, college sports except for in-state teams, Olympic and International sports and eSports are eligible betting events.

Bets on high school or youth sports, in-state college sports and events, minor leagues and daily fantasy sports are prohibited.

The WGC showed a bracket from last year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to highlight how bets on contests featuring in-state teams would not be allowed. Each game with Gonzaga or Eastern Washington was crossed out, as the WGC showed that any game not involving those schools could be bet on during March Madness.

There is online sports betting, but those wagers would have to be placed from inside one of the state’s tribal casinos. Players can also submit their bets at any of the kiosks inside a gaming facility that is also at a tribal casino.

Similar to Illinois, Washington will also require in-person registration for new mobile accounts. Illinois’ in-person registration was recently reinstated.

Tribal Casinos Present During Hearing

Four tribes were the first to reach an agreement with the state on sports betting: The Tulalip, Kalispel, Suquamish and Snoqualmie tribes. Each of the tribes had a representative speak in support of sports wagering during the hearing.

The common theme among the tribes was how gaming has had a positive impact for them. Representatives spoke about how sports wagering would be a financial boost and assist in improving tribes across the state.

Numerous other tribes agreed to adopt the Suquamish Tribe’s Compact Amendment Language, including Colville, Cowlitz, Jamestown, Lummi, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, Shoalwater, Spokane, Squaxin, Stillaguamish and Swinomish.

Some of the tribes discussed their sports betting plans. Chair Jason Elkins of the Muckleshoot Tribe revealed renderings of the tribe’s future sportsbook, while Cowlitz Tribe’s President Kara Fox-LaRose displayed maps of its plans for geofencing for its sports betting platform.

Each of the Tribal-State Gaming Compacts were passed unanimously by the WGC 7-0, with two members excused.

Inslee signed the bill into law that allowed sports betting at the state’s tribal casinos in March 2020. And it is still waiting to launch, but Thursday's step made it closer.

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