Sports betting will soon be available in the Evergreen State as nine Tribes have been approved by the United States Department of the Interior. These Tribes are hopeful of taking their first bets in the coming week before the September 9 NFL opener featuring the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys.
Rebecca George, Executive Director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, said to expect “safe and regulated sports betting” to kick off at Tribal casinos “in the next few months.”
How Did We Get Here?
After extensive legislative discussion and deliberation, Governor Jay Inslee signed ESHB 2638 into law in March 2020 and subsequently agreed to updated gaming compacts with the Tribes in Washington. Sixteen Tribes submitted amendments to include sports betting in their gaming compacts, and the Department of the Interior approved nine of them on Wednesday, September 1. The Washington Gambling Commission announced its new licensing rules on July 30, which went into effect on August 30.
Which Tribes Were Approved?
The following is a list of the nine Tribes who were approved to begin offering sports betting in their respective casinos:
- Cowlitz Tribe’s Ilani Casino Resort in Ridgefield
- Lummi Nation’s Silver Reef Casino in Ferndale
- The Puyallup Tribe of Indians’ Emerald Queen Hotel in Tacoma
- The Suquamish Tribe’s Clearwater Casino Resort in Suquamish
- The Stillaguamish Tribe’s Angel of the Winds Casino in Arlington
- The Squaxin Island Tribe’s Little Creek Casino and Resort in Shelton
- The Spokane Tribe’s Casino in Airway Heights
- The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe’s Casino in Snoqualmie
- The Tulalip Tribes’ Resort Casino in Tulalip
The Snoqualmie Casino is an interesting case study for the beginnings of sports betting in Washington as its the closest Tribal Casino to Seattle, Washington’s biggest city, which represents roughly 10% of the state’s population. The Snoqualmie Casino plans to take its first sports bet in time for the NFL season opener on September 9. It is currently establishing infrastructure with equipment and new training for employees.
International Game Technology, a multinational gaming company, will be the official sports betting provider for the Snoqualmie Casino. The Washington State Gambling Commission approved the Snoqualmie Tribe’s license, and the Tribe has now put into place plans to build out its sportsbook and a “sports betting 101” page on its official website.
The Washington sports betting market is still in its infant stages, and the coming weeks will be a boom for state revenue as the Tribal Casinos should see a big boost in profitability. Washington Tribal Casinos provide more than 37,000 jobs and yielded over $5.3 billion in gross state product in 2017. Revenue from sports betting will help fund government services such as housing, health care, education, natural resources, and community programs.
Mobile betting could be on its way to the new Washington market. However, for the time being, mobile gaming is geo-fenced to the tribal venues approved for sports betting. Should this be changed in the future, the large national gaming providers would jump at the opportunity to get involved in the 13th-largest state by population in the country. FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM, Rush Street Interactive, and Betfred filled out pre-license applications.