According to the latest reports, sports betting in the state of Washington could be offered before the NFL season starts later this week. As it seems, the final political hurdles have been cleared. Over the next couple of days, some of the tribal Washington casinos will likely provide sports wagering services to their customers. In this article, we will discuss the following:
- Sports Betting Finally Coming to Washington.
- Native American Indian Tribes Expect Sports Betting to Bring Huge Benefits.
- A Years-long Battle for Legalization.
Sports Betting Finally Coming to Washington
Right now, the sports gambling compact amendments have been approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior for several tribes. These include Snoqualmie, Spokane, Suquamish, Stillaguamish, Puyallup, Tulalip, Lummi, and Squaxin tribes. At the moment, there are also a few pending applications that could be soon resolved. While some tribes are still finalizing the steps needed for the sports betting introduction, others could be ready for the NFL Week 1.
Back in July, the Washington State Gambling Commission gave the final go-ahead to the betting proposals submitted by the tribes. The plan back then was to have everything set for the September 9 NFL opener. Native tribes have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, perhaps harder than any other community in the country. Now they see NFL season and potential betting revenue as a way of recovery. The plan is to invest the money earned from sports betting in health, education, and other community services.
Tribes Expect Sports Betting to Bring Huge Benefits
Executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, Rebecca George commented on the approval, saying that it represents a milestone for Native communities. Her organization promotes the benefits of tribal gaming, and she feels that this is a huge step in the right direction. However, she did’s specify the timeline for this to happen.
She notes that sports betting going live will depend on the individual casinos and how far are they in the process. This requires handling various logistical, security, and legal issues. Also, the casinos have to reach agreements with approved vendors. The most important thing is not to be the first to offer sports gambling, but to create a safe and regulated market. Check out this video from February 2021 on how the local casino director of gaming talks about sports betting in Washington state.
CEO of the Snoqualmie Casino, Stanford Le, explained how hard they have worked to get to this point. The Snoqualmie Casino cooperated with the Washington State Gambling Commission and vendors to perform due diligence and secure all the necessary licenses.
A Years-long Battle for Legalization
The recent developments in Washington come on the heels of nationwide betting legalization. The Supreme Court struck down the federal law prohibiting betting in May 2018. Since then, we’ve seen sports wagering legalized in a number of states. The way to do it is left to the states. Right now, more than two dozen of them, including Washington, have made steps in this direction.
Before the recent events, the state of Washington had one of the most restrictive anti-betting laws in the country. The final approval for the nine tribes came after years of legal battle to legalize sports gambling in the state. The law approving it in tribal casinos was passed in March 2020. Still, it took more than a year of hard negotiation to reach tribal compact amendments. Some issues still remain. Mainly, mobile betting. It’s still a class-C felony anywhere outside tribal casinos’ premises.
Source: WA tribal casinos get final federal OK for sports betting From KHQ.com on September 2, 2021.