Washington’s Tribes Are One Step Closer To Sports Betting

  • Sports betting may be coming to Washington by way of tribal casinos.
  • Gov. Jay Inslee signed 15 sports betting compacts with different tribes.
  • Should they be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, sports betting would be allowed in WA.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington state may be one step closer to allowing tribal sports betting within its borders. 15 tribal sports betting compacts were signed by Gov. Jay Inslee this week, each of which authorizes a different tribe to offer sports betting on tribal lands.

The compacts are now at the United States Department of the Interior’s Indian Affairs Bureau, which oversees tribal compacts in the United States.

The Bureau has 45 days to review the compacts before making a decision, and a positive decision is a must if Washington wants to move forward with tribal sports betting.

This would represent a sea-change in Washington’s sports betting legal system, as sports betting was previously prohibited.

The way Washington’s constitution is worded requires that any kind of gambling be specifically approved by the state, which is now in the process of happening with these tribal compacts. Washington does have a thriving tribal gambling industry, however, as that has generally already been approved for the tribes within its borders.

22 tribes operate gaming facilities in Washington, and the industry is an important one to the state - more than 37,000 jobs are created by those gaming facilities.

This move by Inslee and the tribes to allow sports betting is aimed at creating more of those jobs and focuses the time frame of sports betting to get it up and running before the NFL season starts.

They’re cutting it close. The NFL season starts on September 9, 2021, and that leaves only about two weeks to set up sports betting in Washington if the Indian Affairs Bureau takes all the time it has to review the compacts.

Still, this is good news for prospective Washington sports betting players, as it seems as though there is a pretty good chance they’ll be able to wager on the NFL once it starts up.