Washington State Gambling Commission approves sports betting licensing rules

Image source: Shutterstock

The Washington State Gambling Commission has unanimously voted to approve sports wagering licensing rules this week. They will become effective on August 30, 2021.

The approval clears the way for licenses to be issued to vendors who have completed the licensing process on or after August 30, 2021. They will need to have licenses approved by tribal gaming agencies and the Gambling Commission before they can begin providing services to tribal sportsbooks.

Sports wagering at tribal casinos can begin in Washington State once sports wagering compact amendments are approved by the US Department of Interior. 

Currently, 16 tribes have approved sports wagering compact amendments before the US Department of Interior.

They comprise the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and Swinomish Indian Tribal Community alongside the Cowlitz, Jamestown S’Klallam, Kalispel, Lummi Nation, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, Shoalwater Bay, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Squaxin Island, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Tulalip, and Skokomich Tribes.

Washington State Gambling Commission Chair Bud Sizemore stated: “I am very grateful for all the hard work Commission staff put into getting these rules finalized since we reached agreements with our tribal regulatory partners in May.

“This ushers in a new era for regulated sports wagering in Washington State and Washington citizens will be able to access tribal sportsbooks of the highest integrity in the near future. 

“My hope is that the completion of these licensing rules will allow us to work more closely with our tribal and national regulatory partners and local sports teams and leagues to better address the sports wagering black market so that we can continue to protect the public by keeping gambling legal and honest.”

Washington State was the first state in 2020 to enact a new sports wagering law. The Gambling Act (RCW 9.46) contains all sports wagering state laws, including additional money laundering and sport integrity provisions to protect gambling and sporting events occurring in the state and around the country.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 provides that Indian tribes may conduct Class III gaming activities on Indian lands when the gaming is conducted in conformance with a tribal-state compact. 

RCW 9.46.360 provides that the Gambling Commission negotiate those compacts on behalf of the state. There are 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington State. All have a Class III gaming compact with 22 operating 29 gaming facilities in the state.