Limited Sports Gambling Coming to Washington State Tribal Casinos
A bill introduced last Friday would legalize sports betting in Washington state's tribal gaming casinos, including online gaming within those same facilities as well.
It's a significant shift, for Washington, having tribal casino sports betting AND online gaming from a state with a notorious reputation for anti-gambling laws.
Currently any form of internet gambling is a Class C felony.
At least one regulator predicts the bill, if approved, could pave the way to wider-spread sports gambling in Washington because the eventual tribal allowances would all be subject to negotiation with the state under federal gaming compact laws.
Those finalized negotiations won't go into effect for another year or two if the bill passes this spring. For now, the bill proposes to limit all sports gambling, including any online wagering, within the physical confines of the tribal casinos.
The bill states in part:
“Tribes have more than 20 years’ experience with, and a proven track record of, successfully operating and regulating gaming facilities in accordance with tribal gaming compacts’’
The public hearing was held Thursday morning before the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming in Olympia.
The bill states that limiting the sports gaming to within tribal facilities follows this state’s long-held policy of outlawing gambling “except where carefully and specifically authorized and regulated.’’
There's been a nationwide push to legalize sports gambling after the U.S. Supreme Court last year quashed a prior federal law banning it since 1992. It's now up to the individual states what their sports gambling priorities are.
Click here to see the analysis of the various stages of sports wagering state-to-state across America.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Mexico, West Virginia, Mississippi and Delaware have since joined Nevada as states allowing full-scale legalized sports betting. New York and Arkansas have passed bills calling for sports betting to become lawful pending their 2019 launch dates, while 29 other states, including Washington, are now in the process of weighing their own legislative options.
Only 11 states have yet to introduce any new sports-betting legislation.