Washington Moves Closer To Sports Betting on Tribal Lands

Washington Moves Closer To Sports Betting on Tribal Lands
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Washington is another step closer to launching legalized sports betting.

On Wednesday, the Washington Gambling Commission (WGC) approved sports betting rules with a 4-0 vote during the Gambling Commission meeting. The sportsbook operators and their partnered tribes can now begin the process of applying for licenses.

“I think getting legal sports wagering up and running is certainly going to be a benefit to the citizens of the state of Washington,” John Ellis, Chairman of the WGC, said during the meeting, “and the fact we’re moving people away from the black market. Good work everyone.”

In June, the WGC approved 15 proposed compact amendments to co-regulate sports betting on tribal lands in the state. Gov. Jay Inslee later signed off on the amendments, which now need approval from the Department of Interior for publication in the federal register.

Under the agreement, sports betting is allowed at tribal casino sportsbooks and on mobile devices from within the land-based tribal casinos.

For Washington gambling, the breakthrough between the state and the tribes was a big step.

Sports Betting Could Be Ready For NFL Season

Residents might be able to bet on NFL games in Washington beginning with the season opener between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 9.

Inslee signed the compacts in early July, meaning the Interior Department has 45 days from then to rule on the sports betting gaming compact. It’s enough time for the Interior Department to approve the compact in early September and in time for the start of the NFL season.

The Interior Department approved Arizona gaming compacts earlier this year and still must rule on measures in Wisconsin, Florida and Connecticut.

Limitations of Sports Betting

Sports betting will only be allowed at tribal casinos. Federal and state law still bans statewide online sports betting. The only mobile sports betting permitted will be inside one of the state’s tribal casinos.

Players can also place their bets at any of the kiosks inside a gaming facility that is also at a tribal casino. Washington will also require in-person registration for new online accounts.

Players in Washington will also not be able to bet on any in-state college sports. During a public hearing in June, the WGC showed a bracket from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to illustrate what games would be banned from being bet on.

Contests with Gonzaga and Eastern Washington were crossed out to show how this in-state ban would work going forward. That means residents within the state won’t be able to wager on the Washington or Washington State football teams this fall.

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