Last Updated Feb 04, 2022, 12:52 PM


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The state of Washington has now launched legal sports betting within its borders. A major step in the right direction was federal approval of nine compact amendments.

The amended compacts between the state and gaming tribal operators sets the stage for an official launch, which is partially underway. Seven additional in-state tribes are awaiting approval from the Department of the Interior (DOI).

Earlier this year, state lawmakers approved legislation that would allow gambling on major professional sports leagues and sporting events. Betting on collegiate sports was also approved with the exception of games involving in-state teams.

Back in July, Governor Jay Inslee signed the amended compact agreements with the participating gaming tribes. From that point, the DOI has had a 45-day window for the approval process.

Washington has been working through the regulatory process with hopes of going live with legal betting for football season. Federal approval of the amended compacts was viewed as one of the final steps in that process.

The nine gaming tribes receiving approval include the Tulalip, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Lummi, Puyallup, Squaxin, Cowlitz and Spokane. The DOI is still reviewing the amended compacts for the other seven Washington tribes with gaming operations.

Rebecca George is the Executive Director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA). She released the following comments upon word of the DOI approval:

“This marks a major milestone in Washington State’s Native American tribes’ efforts to strengthen the self-reliance of our tribal communities. This approval marks the completion of a critical regulatory step toward launching sports betting on the premises of tribal casinos.”

WIGA remains confident that federal approval for the other seven tribes will be in a matter of days. The association is also confident that legal sports betting will go live in tribal casinos in the coming weeks.

The Snoqualmie Gaming Commission along with its operating partner has already submitted a license application. The tribe believed it could be up and running in time for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, and they've made that mark. Legal bets are now live at the Snoqualmie Casino.

The Tulalip and Quil Ceda casino venues have targeted early November as their timeframe to go live. There are certain operational procedures in setting up a retail sportsbook that need to be addressed.

The actual launch date for legal sports betting in Washington is tied to the tribal casinos themselves. Each one is at a different point in the process. This includes the selection of an operating partner. Other concerns are tied to the actual logistics of running a retail sportsbook.

Currently, there are 15 sportsbook operators in the process of securing the proper gaming license. Leading the way are legal US industry heavyweights FanDuelDraftKingsBetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook.

Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. Read more about our author's expertise.

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