There's good news and bad news if you're looking to gamble in Washington state. Land-based gambling is given a degree of freedom—but by no means is it a free-for-all. Despite a gray zone of legality, online gambling is not licensed and therefore unavailable legally to Washington players.
Existing law means that licensed casinos are legal and playable by anyone of legal age, but only on approved Native American reservations. While Las Vegas may be in a league of its own, don't be surprised to find some very classy casinos in Washington, too, courtesy of the Native Indian communities. Indeed, Tulalip Casino in Marysville is a fantastic venue, complete with Orca whales jumping from the resort's lake. The games on offer in the state's best casinos include poker, bingo, baccarat, slots and progressive jackpots.
Horse race betting and some charitable gambling games are also permitted in the state. Another interesting option is the legal concept of "workplace gambling," which was made legal in 1973. The law allows a workplace to create one sports pool board for a specific event, with 100 squares, and charge up to $1 each. It's not real or high stakes sports betting, but it's the best legal option aside from horse wagering.
Overall, the state of Washington has witnessed a long history of gambling battles over its legal status; some are still raging to this day.
It's important to know that Washington, unlike some states, has written laws about playing online. Here it's illegal to play "any unregulated gambling" game. Indeed, in 2006, the state of Washington made a law that criminalized online gambling, and the ruling was reinforced in 2011. There are no legal channels to play now and little interest from lawmakers to change these laws in the foreseeable future.
Online poker players are in much the same boat. Unlike some other states, there's been little push for a regulated online poker market in the Evergreen State.
Washington presents many entertainment options. Sports betting is not among them. Legislators in Olympia have not pursued a sports betting bill, even though the federal ban was struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this year. Up to two dozen states are expected to consider sports betting bills in 2019 and this increase in interest nationwide may eventually spark action by the legislature. In the meantime, Washington sports betting remains on the backburner.