Sports wagering is illegal in Washington State with limited exceptions:
- Sports wagering at Tribal casinos.
- Sports pools under restricted conditions. [hyperlink on page]
In March 2020, House Bill 2638, was signed by Governor Jay Inslee "authorizing sports wagering on a very limited basis by restricting it to tribal casinos in the state of Washington.”
Washington’s sports wagering law authorizes sports wagering on:
- A Professional Sport or Athletic Event;
- A Collegiate Sport or Athletic Event except in-state (see prohibited wagers);
- Olympic or international sports competition or event;
- Electronic Sports or Esports Competition or Event;
- A combination of sporting events, athletic events, or competitions listed above or;
- A portion of any sporting event, athletic event, or competition listed above.
Prohibited wagers in Washington:
- No Gaming Operation may accept any Sports Wager on a Collegiate Sport Event or Collegiate Athletic Event offered or sponsored by a Washington collegiate institution.
- No Gaming Operation may accept any Sports Wager on a Minor League sport.
All sports wagering must be conducted within a Tribe’s casino and can be operated as:
- Retail sportsbook
- On-premises mobile
Each Tribal casino must use a Geofence to ensure mobile Sports Wagering occurs within the casino’s premises.
A list of sports wagers offered for play will be made available at each Tribal casino.
The State Gaming Agency will post the Authorized Sports Wagering Menu[hyperlink] on its website.
Sports Wagers are not transferrable between patrons.
Prohibited Sports Wagering Participants include:
- Any individual under 18 years of age.
- Any individual placing a wager as an agent or proxy.
- Any athlete whose performance may be used to determine, in whole or in part, the outcome of such wagering.
- Any person who is an athlete, player, coach, manager, referee or other game official, physician, trainer, team employee or governing body employee, in any sports event overseen by a Sports Governing Body.
- Any person with access to material, exclusive, non-public confidential information about a sports event that is the subject of such wagering.
- Any person identified by a Sports Governing Body that the Tribal Gaming Agency and State Gaming Agency agree is a person who should be a Prohibited Sports Wagering Participant.
- Any person who holds a position of authority or influence sufficient to exert influence over the participants in a sports event that is the subject of a wager.
- Any person which the Gaming Operation knows or reasonably should know, is placing a wager by, or on behalf of a Prohibited Sports Wagering Participant; and Any person whose participation may undermine the integrity of wagering on a sports event or the conduct of such sports event itself, or any person who is prohibited for other good cause.
How to apply for a license [hyperlink]
100-Square Sports Pool Boards
In 1973, when the Gambling Act was first passed, 100-square sports pool boards were authorized. (RCW 9.46.0335)
The NCAA basketball “Final Four” tournament and the associated bracket pools increased in popularity after 1979 when ESPN aired the tournament on television for the first time. However, bracket pools, office sports pools, and fantasy sports have never been authorized as gambling activities in Washington State and are illegal.
Both businesses and individuals may offer 100-square sports pool boards. Strict rules must be followed when offering them:
- Each business or individual may offer only one board on any single athletic event
- The board must be divided into 100 squares
- You may charge up to $1 per square
- Each player must be charged the same entry fee
- Each player picks a square and their name is written in the square
- Numbers representing game scores are randomly assigned to each square
You should develop and post house rules for how the sports pool board will be operated. For example, a deadline for collecting prize money, winner identification, requirements for someone other than a winner collecting a prize, what will happen if there is a tie, and how money will be distributed if a winning square is not sold.
The sports pool board must be available for inspection by anyone purchasing a square, Gambling Commission agents, and other law enforcement representatives.
These limitations apply to all sporting events equally (Super Bowl, Final Four, etc.).
It is illegal to have a sports pool board where you:
- Have more than one board per athletic event
- Offer anything other than 100 squares
- Charge more than $1 per square