The state Washington reached its first agreement on tribal sports betting Friday.
The Washington State Gambling Commission announced its preliminary agreement with the Tulalip tribes of Washington. The tribe operates two gaming establishments in the state and will likely be the first to offer sports betting in Washington.
The Quil Ceda Creek Casino and Tulalip Resort Casino are near the Tulalip Reserve, about 40 minutes north of Seattle.
“We believe this compact change is a well-thought-out tribe and state approach to ensuring that sports betting is conducted with the utmost integrity while protecting the public by keeping gambling legal and honest,” said the Washington chairman State Gambling Commission Bud Sizemore said in the announcement. “The state and tribe negotiating team did a great job in reaching this agreement.
“There is still a lot of work to be done before the first regulated sportsbook opens in our state and I hope that sportsbooks can begin before the regular NFL season begins.”
A year of negotiating for sports betting in Washington
Governor Jay Inslee signed ESHB 2638 in law on March 25, 2020. The legislation allowed WA sports betting in tribal casinos.
After the law was changed, it was time to revise the tribal treaties to include sports betting in WA. Friday’s announcement concluded a nearly year-long negotiation process with the Tulalip tribes.
“Sports betting is an exciting new opportunity for Washingtoners,” said Tulalip chairwoman Teri Gobin said. “Sports betting revenue, like all tribal gaming revenue, provides Washington residencies, creates jobs, and increases donations to charities that benefit communities across the state.”
Not quite finished in Washington
The senate and House of Representatives will now review the contract procedurally. The Gambling Commission expects to vote on the new pact the 10th of June.
The pact then requires the final signatures of the tribal chairman and governor. Then it goes to Home Office for review and publication in the Federal Register.
As already mentioned, Sizemore expects sports betting in time 2021 NFL betting.
The legislation introduced in 2021 dealt with sports betting outside the tribal country on card rooms and racetracks. The statement, SB5212, did not move to a February 4th Hearing in the Senate Labor, Commerce and Tribal Affairs Committee.
More tribal compacts on the horizon?
There are 28 Tribal casinos operated by 23 other tribes that might renegotiate their contracts to offer sports betting. At least half have reportedly shown an interest in sports betting.
Washington Indian Gaming Association managing Director Rebecca George called the agreement “the next major milestone” in the state gaming industry.
In two decades of gaming, the tribal gaming industry has been created 37,000 jobs and more than $ 700 million in state and local taxes according to the association.
“Tribes and state regulators have worked consistently to come up with carefully effective, compact agreements like the one announced today that will allow responsible adults access to games while protecting them from negative social consequences,” said George. “This shows that lawmakers were right in the 2020 session when they passed historic, bipartisan laws that allowed sports betting on the premises of tribal casinos.”