Washington tribal casinos set for regulated sports-betting

Washington state looks set for regulation of in-person sports-betting at its tribal casinos from the Spring.

Tribal leaders have re-negotiated their gaming compacts with state legislators.

They have agreed that on-premise wagering will be the only form of sports-betting allowed.

Only tribal establishments will be authorized to offer the new product.

The Washington State Gambling Commission discussed the details of the measures last week. It could have the regulations approved during its next meeting set for 15 January.

March sign off

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed off on House Bill 2638 in March, legalizing sports-betting in the process. 

However, getting the regulations sorted by Spring 2021 would be a fast turnarounds.

Brian Considine, Legal and Legislative Manager at the WSGC, said his team was preparing a “pre-licensing” package. This will outline key items the state will need during the licensing process.

Tribal exclusivity 

Tribal casinos have flexed their lobbying muscle and will be the only beneficiaries of the new regulations.

Moreover, only physical betting will be permitted and cardrooms and racetracks will miss out.

The legislation provides something of a boost to the state of Washington in the Wedge Index of gaming friendliness. The state is at lowly T47th on the index.

Regulated sports-betting will give it a five-point boost. But remote registration and mobile betting would significantly enhance its points tally. 

Before the spring, there are fears the ongoing pandemic could lead to further casino closures.

It could lead to a greater flow to offshore sportsbooks.

Washington and Virginia were the only states to legalize sports-betting in 2020. Both will likely see go-live dates as early as January 2021.


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