Washington regulator strikes deal with Tulalip Tribes for sports betting

The state of Washington is one step closer to getting legal sports betting off the ground.

The Washington State Gambling Commission has reached an agreement with the Tulalip Tribes of Washington for sports betting at the Tribes’ casinos in the state.

The Commission’s agreement with the Tulalip Tribes

Under the agreement, the tribe, which operates two Class III gambling facilities on the Tulalip reservation in Marysville, Washington, may amend its Class III compact with the state to include sports betting.

The new agreements come after a year of negotiations with the Tribe after Governor Jay Inslee signed the sports betting bill HB 2638 into law. The legislation permits sports betting at tribal casinos in the state and the initial agreement with the tribe only allowed sports betting to take palace at a Tribe’s Class III betting facilities.

This marks the first sports wagering compact agreement between the state regulator and a gambling tribe in Washington State.

According to the Commission’s announcement, the amendment to the compact agreement “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.”

Tulalip Chairwoman Teri Gobin added: “We are extremely satisfied with the compact amendment and our ability to work together with the State on this effort to maintain a strong regulatory environment for gaming in Washington State.

“Sports wagering is an exciting new opportunity for Washingtonians. The revenue sports wagering provides — like all tribal gaming revenue — stays in Washington, creating jobs and increasing charitable contributions that benefit communities throughout the state.”

The state regulatory is set to vote on the amendment on 10 June and if approved by the Commission, the amendment will be passed to the governor and the Tribal Chair to sign. From here the amendment will be sent to the Secretary of the United States Department of Interior for review and publication in the Federal Register.

Sports betting at the facilities cannot begin until the amendment is published in the Federal Register.

Sports betting in Washington State

Last year, Washington State authorised sports wagering at tribal casinos in the state after Inslee signed HB 2638 into law.

Under HB 2638, residents and visitors can legally take part in in-person sports wagering, and on-premises mobile betting at land-based tribal casinos. 

Once sports betting goes live in the state, bettors will be able to place bets on any professional sport or athletic event including the Olympic Games and collegiate events. However, betting on minor league sports will be prohibited.

Washington is currently homed to 21 tribes that operate 29 casinos, 21 card room operators which operate 44 card rooms and two racetracks, creating plenty of opportunities for sports betting in the state.

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