The Washington State Gambling Commission is responsible for the regulation of gambling in Washington State. Included in this responsibility is the negotiation of Class III Gaming Compacts on behalf of the state and co-regulation of Class III Gaming in conjunction with the tribal gaming regulatory agencies. The terms of this tribal/state relationship originate from the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and are governed by the Class III gaming compacts between the state and individual Tribes.
The agency’s negotiation function is primarily the responsibility of the Director’s office and tribal regulatory functions are primarily the responsibility of the Tribal Gaming Unit, the Electronic Gambling Laboratory, and the Licensing Unit. In addition to our co-regulatory functions and certification/suitability determinations of Class III Gaming employees and organizations, we participate in, or organize, meetings and trainings for: licensing staff, Tribal Gaming Agency directors, gaming executives, equipment manufacturers, and independent testing laboratories and provide assistance to Tribal Gaming Agency directors as requested.
As a regulatory agency, the Gambling Commission does not have funds for distribution to tribes. The Commission recovers costs from Tribes for their role in Class III gaming regulation.
"Class III Gaming" means all forms of gaming as defined in 25 USC §2703(8) and by regulations of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) and are authorized under Compact as Class III games.
"Gaming Facility" means the building or buildings, or portions thereof, in which Class III Gaming activities as authorized by Compact are conducted on the Tribal lands.
Consultation Process Procedures
Consultation with each sovereign Tribe shall be the established protocol for government-to-government consultation as directed by the Tribe and communicated to the agency. It shall emphasize trust, respect, and a shared responsibility to open and timely exchange of information to develop a mutual understanding of gambling topics. Consultation provides the agency an opportunity to make better decisions by soliciting input on gambling and related policy topics from Tribes.
The WSGC recognizes that its decisions with respect to non-Indian gaming may have an impact on Tribes and, therefore, will ensure to analyze and consult on such issues.
- In order for Tribal consultation to be effective and meaningful, it must be conducted before taking actions that impact Tribes.
- The agency is committed to identifying agency actions that may have Tribal implications including policy or rule development, program implementation, broad-impact adjudications, or similar items.
- Informal and formal communication with individual Tribes or as a group shall not be considered consultation.
- Consultation meetings will be scheduled at least annually and consistently average two to three per year.
In addition, the agency participates in Centennial Accord meetings.
Dispute Resolution Process
The dispute resolution process for Class III gaming issues is set forth in each Class III Gaming Compacts between each Tribe and the state. This process involves several levels of dispute resolution including consultation, mediation and arbitration.
Agency employees are strongly encouraged to resolve disputes on an informal basis whenever possible.