Washington Sports Betting A Step Closer After Tribal Compacts

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Washington sports betting took a crucial step on Thursday when the State Gambling Commission approved renegotiated compacts with 15 tribes. The proposed amendments – that will co-regulate sports betting on tribal lands in the Evergreen State – now head the governor for a review.

If Gov. Jay Inslee and the tribal leaders approve the proposed amendments, the next and final process will be the federal approval – which is required for all the gaming compacts involving tribes.

If all this happens smoothly, Washington residents can place bets in time for the upcoming NFL season in September.

As of now, only Washington’s tribes are legally allowed to host retail sports betting in the state.

What Happened in Thursday’s Meeting?

Thursday’s hearing, which was open to the public, lasted for more than four hours. The Washington Gaming Commission (WGC) underscored the sports options the state would allow for betting. Professional sports, college sports (except for in-state teams), Olympic, and international sports be eSports are permissible.

But betting on high school, or in-state college sports and events, minor leagues, and daily fantasy sports are banned, the WGC said.

Mobile sports betting is allowed, but the digital bets would have to be placed from inside one of the state’s tribal casinos. Bettors can place their wagers at any of the kiosks inside a gaming facility that is also at a tribal facility.

Following a rare example of Illinois, Washington sports betting also requires in-person registration for new mobile accounts.

Fast-Tracking to Launch in Time

Commission’s legal and legislative manager Brian Considine said the WGC was fast-tracking sports betting rules in order to launch by the end of August. The draft rules will then move to an official public-comment period before they could be approved July 28 during a special meeting to review the final language of the rules.

The WGC will extend three license types for different sizes of vendors and will charge a maximum of $85,0000 for an annual license.

How Have We Reached Here?

Washington was the first state in 2020 to legalize sports betting but is limited to retail sportsbooks at the state tribes.

Once the legislation approved, the state and tribes had to renegotiate existing gaming compacts to include sports betting.

Four tribes – the Tulalip, Kalispel, Suquamish, and Snoqualmie – were the first to reach an agreement on sports betting. All these tribes echoed the beneficial economic effects of the industry.

Other tribes followed the Suquamish Tribe’s compact amendment language, while some others negotiated their own plans.

Each of the Tribal-State Gaming Compacts was approved unanimously the commission 7-0.

The Thursday meeting marked a key step toward the launch of Washington sports betting since Inslee signed sports betting into law in March 2020.

What’s Next?

Once the Democratic governor signs the renegotiated compacts, they head to the US Department of Interior for final review, approval, and publication in the Federal Register.

The process may take more than four months. But in the case of Arizona sports betting, the federal authorities wrapped up the process within a month. It means the Washington sports betting’s anticipated launch by the NFL depends on the swiftness of the federal officials.

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