Illegal gambling activities

Learn which gambling activities you should avoid within Washington state.

Gambling in Washington state is illegal unless the activity is specifically authorized by state law. Gambling involves three elements: prize, chance, and consideration (wager or anything of value).

Conducting illegal gambling activities may result in criminal charges being filed against you, your organization, and/or its officers, and forfeiture of all property or money associated with illegal gambling.

You can report illegal gambling activity to us at any time.

Sports wagering

Sports wagering is illegal in Washington state except at tribal casinos with amended Class III compacts following the passage of House Bill 2638 in March 2020.

100-square sports pool boards are also permitted under restricted conditions.

You can learn more about sports wagering licensing or about the rules that govern sports wagering in Washington state.


Bookmaking means taking bets or wagers on the outcome of a future event, typically sporting events, when you conduct the activity as a business and accept a fee from the bettor for the chance to place a bet.

Animal fighting

Professional gambling is illegal and is usually connected to animal fights. State law prohibits anyone from training animals to fight, fighting animals, or being present at fights, whether professional gambling is taking place.

Gambling devices

Slot machines, video poker and video pull-tabs, pachinko and pachislo machines, and other electronic games of chance are illegal in Washington.

Card and dice games

It is illegal for individuals to offer cards, dice games, or any gambling activity for profit. Only licensed card rooms can collect a fee or percentage of wagers from card games.

Charitable and nonprofit organizations may let their members play unlicensed card and dice games under restricted conditions.

Professional gambling

If you have a substantial interest in or other control over any premises, you will be held responsible and could be charged with professional gambling if you knowingly allow unauthorized gambling activity on your premises.

You are engaged in professional gambling if, acting other than as a player, you are knowingly:

  • Engage in conduct which materially aids any form of gambling activity
  • Pay a fee to participate in a card game, a contest of chance, a lottery, or other gambling activity
  • Accept or receive money or other property from participation in a gambling activity
  • Engaging in bookmaking.

Conduct may include activity directed toward:

  • Creating or establishing the game, contest, scheme, or device
  • Acquiring or maintaining the premises, paraphernalia, equipment, or apparatus
  • Soliciting or inducing persons to participate in the activities
  • Conducting the playing phases
  • Arranging any of its financial or recording phases or any other phase of its operation

Criminal penalties

Criminal charges for professional gambling range from a gross misdemeanor to a class B felony. The maximum penalties range from 1 to 10 years in prison and fines of $5,000 to $20,000.

Financial exploitation of vulnerable adults

Financial Exploitation means the illegal or improper use, control over, or withholding of property, income, resources, or trust funds of a vulnerable adult by any person or entity for any person's or entity's profit or advantage other than for the vulnerable adult's profit or advantage. This includes a perpetrator using the vulnerable adult’s funds for gambling activities.

Underage gambling

The legal age to gamble in Washington state is 18. Not only is underage gambling illegal in Washington state, but It can result in serious consequences, including problem gambling. Underage gambling is a civil infraction, and the penalty includes a fine of up to $125, up to four hours of community service, court costs, and forfeiture of any winnings.