Cities & counties with gambling bans

Municipal and county jurisdictions within the state of Washington may prohibit some or all gambling activities. Learn the rules in your area.

It is your responsibility to ensure that gambling is authorized in the jurisdiction you will be operating. For the most up-to-date information on ordinances, please contact your jurisdiction directly. To look up the contact information for the city or town your activity will be in, visit the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) website (

About city- and county-wide gambling bans

While cities and counties may prohibit any or all gambling activities, they may not change the scope of activities a gambling license allows.

Our interpretation of the law is that local governments can only “absolutely prohibit” gambling activities. Zoning, partial bans, and some of the other partial approaches may not be allowed.

Card rooms bans

Since house-banked card rooms were introduced in 1997, several jurisdictions have banned card rooms. Local governments can specify which type of card room (house-banked, poker, and/or charitable or nonprofit) they want to ban in their local ordinance.

There is much debate and there have been several lawsuits about the authority to zone card rooms in certain areas, and allow existing card rooms but prohibit new ones (grandfathering). There have also been several public votes about whether particular cities will allow card rooms.

Report changes to your gambling ordinances

If you represent a city, county, or town, you can report changes to your municipal code.