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COVID-19 Update

Last Updated: 4/2/2020

Office Information

Our Lacey and Spokane offices are closed to the public until further notice. This includes the suspension of fingerprinting services.

Licensing staff members are available to assist licensees and the public by phone and email, during normal business hours. To expedite processing, we encourage all new applicants and licensees to use our online services in MyAccount. Please email our Licensing Unit at licensing@wsgc.wa.gov if you have questions or need to schedule a phone appointment.

Quarterly License Reports and Fees

We recognize the impacts that COVID-19 is having on our licensees. To help, we will not charge a late penalty if licensees submit quarterly license reports and fees to us on or before May 30, 2020.

License Renewals

Need to renew your license? You can complete this process online, through My Account, even if your license has now expired.

New License Applications

We will continue to accept and process license applications. Fingerprinting services have been suspended but you can still submit applications and applications will still be processed.

Raffles, Fundraising Events and Recreational Gaming Activities

Based upon the current COVID-19 environment, we understand that raffles, fundraising events and recreational gaming activities will need to be postponed. As a result, licensees may submit a written request to change the date of an event, without penalty or fees during this time. For raffle drawing date changes, send your request to Jim Nicks at jim.nicks@wsgc.wa.gov. For fundraising events and recreational gaming activities, send your requests to licensing@wsgc.wa.gov.  

Still have questions? Give us a call at 360-486-3440 ext. 2331 or 2332 or send us an email at askus@wsgc.wa.gov.

Electronic Gambling Lab

Our Electronic Gambling Lab staff are now working remotely and will only be completing the documentation portion of testing at this time. This includes reviewing: product release notes, topologies, ITL certifications, ITL portal documentation, test script development and verifying software signatures (if possible). EGL staff will not be able to conduct any on-site testing in our lab until the Governor’s restrictions have been lifted.

Gambling Facility Closures

On April 2, Governor Inslee extended a stay-at-home order, which requires all residents to stay at home until at least May 4, unless they are considered "essential" workers. This supercedes his proclamation from March 16, which ordered the temporary closure of all bars, restuarants and casinos.

Effectively, nearly all gambling activities in Washington have been suspended due to these closures. While not ordered to close, all Class III tribal casinos in Washington have voluntarily closed their doors.

Gov. Inlee's 3/27 letter to tribal leaders

Public Disclosure Requests

Our staff members continue to process public disclosure requests, but requestors may experience delays while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. If you are requesting paper records or records that require special systems or equipment to locate or compile, there will be a significant delay in producing the records.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

General Licensee Questions

Do I have to renew my license while the ban is in place or can I wait until the ban is over?

At this time, the WSGC is open and processing licenses. Our online renewal services are also available. Organizations and individuals will have one week after the end of the closure to renew any licenses that expired during the closure. No individual or organization may work or operate without the completed renewal application being submitted. 

 

Do the Non-profit clubs have to close?

Yes. WA State Governor Proclamation 20-13 prohibits people from gathering in a “public venue” which includes, but is not limited to, social clubs, private clubs, tennis clubs, golf clubs, faith-based organizations/facilities, and other similar venues.

 

Will WSGC Agents meet with licensees if they request?

Agents will make every effort to accommodate licensees by phone and email. An Agents supervisor may authorize personal contact if it is deemed essential to our operations.

 

How long is the ban for?

The stay-at-home order will stay in effect until May 4, 2020, unless extended beyond that date.

 

Should licensees deposit all their money?

We recommend that licensees secure money prior to closure.

 

QLR’s and QLF’s are coming due what do licensees do? Will we extend the due date?

We will not charge a late penalty if licensees submit quarterly license reports and fees to us on or before May 30, 2020  

 

Can I get a refund of my license fees if I’m forced out of business due to the ban?

No. Generally speaking our new fee restructure removes the refund option. Licensees no longer pay for a full license year in advance but now pay by the quarter only after operating. Current assessment is for gambling activity that has already occurred.

 

Raffles, Pull Tabs, Bingo

Will there be an extension on when bank deposits need to be made?

Our recommendation would be to make deposits upon closing and then start deposits upon re-opening. If you are not operating then deposit requirements are not applicable. However if licensees cannot make deposits upon closing then we will not count the days of closure due to the Governors proclamation.

 

Raffles

How should operators proceed if raffle drawings that were to take place must be postponed?

Operators may submit a written request to change the date of an event, without penalty or fees during this time. For raffle drawing date changes, send your request to Jim Nicks at jim.nicks@wsgc.wa.gov

 

Can raffle operators become creative in how they sell tickets, including internet sales in some form?

No. Raffles must be operated within existing state laws and rules.

 

Pull Tabs

Depending on the length of closure, are pull tab records still required to be completed within 30 days following the end of the month? WAC 20-14-285

Yes. Pull tab records must be completed as required by WAC 230-14-285.

 

How should operators temporarily close their pull tab operations, and will we allow them to put back into play the existing pull tab games so long as they can secure them from the public and potentially employees?

Pull tab operators should temporarily remove the pull tab games from play and secure them from the public/employees. Licensees can put the games back in play when the business reopens.

 

Seal card winners have 14 days to redeem their prize; does this time pause during closures?

Yes. If the business is no longer open, the players cannot redeem the prizes. The 14- day requirement to redeem the prize should begin once the business reopens.

 

Does the closure period count for retention time of pull tabs removed from play?

Yes.  For games that have been permanently removed from play, the retention time starts following the last day of the month the game is removed from play (WAC 230-14-265).  The retention time does not begin for pull tab games that are temporarily or permanently held. 

 

Will a licensee be able to extend the time for current pull tab games on hold past the WAC 14 days?

Yes. The 14-day requirement will not apply during the required business closure. Once the licensee reopens, they should start counting off any remaining days from where they left off when the business closed. For example, if a player has reserved a game for 4 days before the business closes, the game can be held for 10 days once the business reopens.

 

How should we ensure nonprofit social clubs secure their in play and new pull tab games as well as cash banks, etc.?

Nonprofit organizations have an obligation to protect their assets WAC 230-07-060. If the nonprofit organization is closed, they should temporarily remove their pull tab games from play and ensure they are secure. New pull tab games and cash banks should be secured as they normally would be to ensure the games/funds are protected.

 

If a pull tab carry-over jackpot game does not have a tab available to win the jackpot does the game need to be replaced as soon as the business reopens. WAC 230-14-235 requires replacement within seven business days.

We will not count the days you are closed towards the seven business days.

 

If a business is open for take-out food, can they sell pull tabs while the food order is processed.

No. WA State Governor Proclamation 20-13 prohibits people from gathering in any public venue in which people congregate for purposes of public entertainment, social and recreation. We believe the selling and playing of pull tabs fall within this category.

 

Bingo

Does the ban apply to Bingo licensees?

Yes. WA State Governor Proclamation 20-13 prohibits people from gathering in any public venue in which people congregate for purposes of public entertainment, social and recreation. We believe bingo operations fall within this category.

 

Amusement Games

Does the ban apply to Amusement Centers?

Yes. WA State Governor Proclamation 20-13 prohibits people from gathering in any public venue in which people congregate for purposes of public entertainment, social and recreation. We believe amusement centers fall within this category.

 

Card Rooms and House-Banked Card Rooms (HBCR)

Can House-Banked Card Room gaming continue to operate if their restaurant is limited to take out only and not dine in?

No. WA State Governor Proclamation 20-13 prohibits House Banked Card Rooms from operating

 

Are HBCR required to close?

Yes. WA State Governor Proclamation 20-13 prohibits House Banked Card Rooms from operating.

 

What if a HBCR refuses to close? Who will enforce?

We will take appropriate action as we become aware of any operators not abiding by the Governor’s Proclamation. Local law enforcement agencies as well as the public health districts will most likely assist in the enforcement of the Proclamation. Any person willfully violating any provision of an order issued by the governor is guilty of a gross misdemeanor, RCW 43.06.220.

 

Can a HBCR stay open with less occupancy?

No. WA State Governor Proclamation 20-13 prohibits House Banked Card Rooms from operating

 

Can essential staff, such as accounting, janitorial, and maintenance, come in after the closure takes place?

This is a business decision for the licensee.

 

How should card rooms secure themselves for extended closures? Secure chips and cash in safes? Should they deposit all cash banks into their bank for safekeeping so no cash is left on premise and subject to burglary?

This is a question for each card room operator to answer. However, it is recommended that each card room secure chips and cash to limit their risk of burglary during the business closure.

 

What if a patron has chips and wishes to cash them in during the time-period of the cardroom closure?

Card Rooms are required to close. Therefore, they cannot cash out chips from patrons.

 

Do I need to keep surveillance staffed while closed?

No. The WAC rules do not require a staffed surveillance room when the licensee is closed for business. It is up to each licensee whether they have surveillance staff working during the closure. However, surveillance must be recording during the closure if drop boxes or chip trays are stored on the gambling tables (WAC 230-15-265).

 

Should chips be credited from the table to the cage for more security.

That is one option. If you do remove chips from the chip racks on the table, they must be credited through the proper procedures. You may also remove the entire locked chip rack with a proper Table Inventory Slip and secure them in the cage or soft count room. Again, it is your responsibility to protect your assets.

 

Can HBCR’s get an extension on the reporting requirements for illegal activity just prior to the ban?

No. Activity can be reported 24 hours a day via email or voice mail. There is no reason to delay reporting suspected illegal activity. If the licensee is closed for business, they are not required to report illegal activity they are not aware of. If they become aware of illegal activity, they must report as required.

 

Do House Banked Card Rooms have to do a final count?

Yes, a final count must be completed prior to the closure of the business.