Gambling Commission Approves Sports Wagering Licensing Rules

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington State Gambling Commission unanimously voted to approve sports wagering licensing rules today that will become effective on August 30, 2021.

Today's approval will allow licenses to be issued to vendors who have completed the licensing process on or after August 30, 2021. Vendors will need to have licenses approved by Tribal Gaming Agencies and the Gambling Commission before they can begin providing services to Tribal sportsbook.

Sports wagering at Tribal Casinos can begin in Washington State when sports wagering compact amendments are approved by the U.S. Department of Interior. Currently, sixteen Tribes€”the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Lummi Nation, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Spokane Tribe, Squaxin Island Tribe, Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, Suquamish Tribe, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Tulalip Tribe of Washington, and Skokomish Indian Tribe€”have approved sports wagering compact amendments before the U.S. Department of Interior for review and approval. You can access each of these agreements on the agency's sports wagering webpage.

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, said Washington State Gambling Commission Chair Bud Sizemore.

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.

BACKGROUND: 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 twenty-nine federally recognized Tribes in Washington State. All twenty-nine Tribes have a Class III gaming compact with twenty-two Tribes operating twenty-nine gaming facilities in the state. Currently, the Gambling Commission has negotiated sports wagering compact amendments with sixteen Tribes.