Gambling Commission, Squaxin Island Tribe reach tentative agreement on gaming compact amendment

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington State Gambling Commission has reached a tentative agreement with the Squaxin Island Tribe on an amendment to its Class III gaming compact.

The Commission is responsible for negotiating tribal gaming compacts, said Commission Chair Bud Sizemore. As a result of these negotiations, the Squaxin Island Tribe will now be able to operate in much the same way several other tribes already do in Washington.

Below is a summary of the major changes in the proposed amendment, which is consistent with several other tribes' gaming compacts. (Full amendment attached)

  • Increases number of Class III gaming facilities from one to two.
  • Includes the definition of Indian lands from the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to align compact definition with the Act and allow a gaming facility on qualifying land this is not within the reservation boundaries.
  • Allows tribally chartered entities wholly-owned by the Tribe to own the Class III gaming facility.
  • Adds the definitions of gaming or gaming activity and gaming promotions.
  • Adds an annual reporting requirement on how problem gambling funds from Appendix X2 were used.
  • Adds eligibility, which allows the Tribe to conduct initial background checks and temporarily license its employees to begin working immediately. The state will continue to conduct background checks.
  • Allows persons between the ages of 18 and 21 to play in accordance with applicable liquor laws.

Next Steps:

  1. Formal notification about the proposed compact amendment are conveyed to the Governor, Legislature and others.
  2. The designated standing committees of the Legislature will hold public hearings within 45 days after receiving the proposed compact amendment.
  3. The Gambling Commission will vote at a public meeting and decide whether or not to forward the proposed compact amendment to the Governor.
  4. If the Commission votes to forward the Tribe's amendment, it will be sent to the Tribal Chair for final consideration and signature.
  5. Once the Tribal Chair signs the amendment, it will be sent to the Governor for final consideration and signature.
  6. After obtaining the signatures of the Tribal Chair and Governor, the Tribe will send the amendment to the Secretary of the United States Department of Interior for consideration, signature and publication in the Federal Register.

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. The Squaxin Island Tribe's tribal-state compact for Class III gaming was originally signed on July 27, 1993 and has been amended four times.