Washington regulator inks wagering agreement with Skokomish Indian Tribe

Washington’s gambling regulator has inked another wagering agreement with one of the state’s tribal operators.

The Washington State Gambling Commission has announced a tentative agreement to add sports wagering to its gaming compact with the Skokomish Indian Tribe.

This marks the latest agreement between the Washington regulator and one of the state’s tribal operators.

The sports wagering agreement

Under the agreement, the state regulator will amend its Class III gaming compact with the Skokomish Tribe to include sports wagering.

The Tribe operates the Lucky Dog Casino Class III gaming facility located north of Shelton on the Skokomish Reservation

According to the announcement, the agreement marks the end of a “nearly year-long” negotiation process with the tribe after the sports betting bill ESHB 2638 was signed into law in March 2020. The agreement establishes the framework for sports wagering the Tribe’s facilities.

The regulator also explained that the amended compact continues the current Tribe-State co-regulatory structure while addressing the areas specified by the Legislature—licensing, regulatory fees, operation and regulation of sports wagering, criminal enforcement, money laundering, sport integrity, and responsible problem gambling.

Washington State Gambling Commission Chair Bud Sizemore said: “We believe that this compact amendment is a thoughtful approach by the Tribe and State that ensures sports wagering will be conducted with the highest integrity while protecting the public by keeping gambling legal and honest.

“The State and Tribal negotiation team did a great job coming to this agreement. There is still a lot of work before the first regulated sportsbook opens in our state, and I’m hopeful sports wagering can launch before the NFL regular season begins.”

Skokomish’s Chairman, Charles Miller, added: “The addition of Sports Wagering as an option provides the Skokomish Indian Tribe the opportunity to expand its offerings and customer base, and thus provide for greater financial security for the Tribe.”

Before the amended compact can come into effect, it must now go through a state and federal approval process.

The approval process will begin with joint legislative hearings in July, before being sent to the Secretary of the United States Department of Interior for publication in the Federal Register. The amendment will only come into effect once it is published in the Register.

Sports betting in Washington State

In March 2020, Governor Jay Inslee signed ESHB 2638 into law which authorised sports wagering as an activity that only tribal operators in the state could offer.

Under the bill, it is now legal for Washington State residents and visitors to participate in sports wagering, in-person at one of the state’s tribal casinos.

Sports betting has yet to go live, but the state Gambling Commission is hopeful that the activity could go live in time for the start of the 2021 NFL regular season.

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