Card games (commercial)

Learn who can offer card games, information on card room employees, including applications, training information, recordkeeping requirements, and helpful rules.

Who can apply for a card games license

If you are a commercial stimulant business primarily engaged in the selling of food or drink for consumption on premises, you may apply to offer card games. You may not operate more than 15 card tables.

Learn more about the licensing requirements for commercial businesses.

If you are applying for a house-banked card games license, read additional information about the application process.

About card games

Visit the Washington State Legislature site to see all the rules that govern card games (

There are 3 types of card games licenses.

Nonhouse-banked card games

  • Offer for play authorized nonhouse-banked card games, such as poker
  • You may offer card games with or without a fee
  • Conduct approved tournaments
  • If charging a fee to play, employees involved in the operation of the card room must apply for a card room employee license.

Nonhouse-banked card games - Class F endorsement

  • Offer for play authorized nonhouse-banked card games
  • You may offer card games with or without a fee
  • Conduct approved tournaments
  • Authorized alternative fee collections
  • Offer player-supported jackpots 
  • Employees involved in the operation of the card room must apply for a card room employee license.

House-banked card games

  • Offer for play authorized house-banked card games
  • With this license, you may also:
    • Offer for play nonhouse-banked card games
    • Conduct approved tournaments
    • Offer player-supported jackpots
    • Use alternative fee collection
  • Employees involved in the operation of the card room must apply for a card room employee license.

Collecting fees for card games

Learn about authorized fees and authorized methods of collection for card games (

Card room employee (CRE) information

When setting up your card room for the first time, you will want a "startup crew" for getting your card room operations started. These employees will be issued their license prior to the approval of the card room license. Submit the applications via SecureAccess Washington (SAW) for the CREs needed to open your doors while we are processing your card room application.

The maximum number of employees we will approve for a startup crew will depend on the type of card room as well as the size of your card room license operations.

All other CRE applications will not be approved until the card room application is approved. 

After your card room application is approved and licensed, you may apply on behalf of your employees for their CRE license through your SAW MyAccount. The CRE cannot directly apply for their own license, as they must be sponsored by an employer.

All required documents and fees must be submitted before we will process the application(s).

No CRE license required for substantial interest holders

If you are a substantial interest holder in a card room, you do not need an individual license to perform card room employee duties connected with that licensed business.

Learn what a substantial interest holder is (

How to apply

In addition to all the materials outlined in our licensing process, the complete application includes:

Applying for CRE licenses

CRE applications are available online. You must have a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account with Washington State Gambling Commission's MyAccount services to submit the application on their behalf.

If you don't have a SAW account, learn how to register for SAW.

Once you have registered for SAW, apply for a card room employee license.

Current licensees: add card games to your existing gambling license

If you already have an active gambling license with us and would like to add card games as a new activity, complete the "Add an Activity" application.

Card Games - Add an Activity to Commercial Business Application Packet (PDF, 900 KB)

If applying by mail

If you're applying by mail, make sure you use the correct address based on the carrier you're using.

For US Mail (No UPS or FedEx)

Washington State Gambling Commission
PO Box 42400
Olympia WA 98504-2400

For UPS, FedEx, and overnight packages

Washington State Gambling Commission
4565 7th Avenue SE
Lacey WA 98503

Required training

After we grant your license, you have 30 days to complete your required training:

Report illegal activities and violations

Class F and house-banked card game licensees must:

  • Report to us within 3 business days any illegal or suspicious activities within the portion of their business premises required to be under surveillance
  • Make a copy of the entire recorded sequence of the activity
  • Give the original recording to us or other law enforcement when requested
  • Keep the copy for at least 30 days.

Learn more about your responsibility to report illegal activities and other violations.

Required recordkeeping

You must:

  • Keep records to provide in case we audit your business
  • Complete the records within 15 days of the last day of each month, every month.

Use the following packets to help you keep records that meet our standards:

House-banked card rooms

Financial statements requirements

House-banked card game licensees must submit financial statements covering all their activities for each business year within 120 days following the end of their fiscal year. The financial statements must be prepared by an independent CPA.

Visit the Washington State Legislature site to see the rule that governs house-banked card room financial statements (

Retaining your records

You must retain the records for 3 years from the end of your fiscal year.

    Renewing your license

    Licenses expire each year. Learn more about how to renew your license.

    Reporting changes to your license

    There are certain changes you must tell us about. Learn how to report changes to your license.