Sports Betting Legalization a Possibility in Washington State
Legal sports betting moves another step closer in Washington State.
Amendments in legislation in Washington State could lead to the creation of a new sports betting market if the momentum continues. Fifteen tribes in the state have taken significant strides recently towards legal sports betting, and the new market could launch in time for the beginning of the new NFL season in September. Last week, the state’s Gambling Commission updated gaming compacts with the tribes, clearing the way for sports wagering. Seven commissioners have approved the changes.
More changes will be required before legal sports betting launches in Washington State. More approvals are needed from a government standpoint in addition to the tribes themselves. Each chair of the tribes must sign the amended compact, and Governor Jay Inslee must also give his seal of approval.
Additionally, the United States Department of Interior has to approve the proposed changes. The government organization has a set period of time, in this case, 45 days, to rule on the compacts. For the legislation to progress, the approval must then include the data published within the Federal Register. If that happens, the sports wagering industry would be authorized to offer services.
In 2020, state legislators approved a law to allow the tribes to offer sports betting. The industry would allow betting on college sports in addition to events that take place during the Olympics. However, operators would be prohibited from offering services on local college sports.
If approved, the tribes would have permission to offer land-based services as well as mobile betting and online. However, they would only be allowed to provide online services within the property. So, customers would need to go to the casino to be able to wager online.
Rules & Regulations
Last week, the Gaming Commission approved the initial filing of the sports wagering draft rules. The final draft of the regulations will be reviewed on July 28. The rules review process will include licensing requirements and fees and reporting requirements for the industry.
Other considerations in the review process include sports betting integrity, mobile account requirements, operators’ integrity rules, and geolocation needs. Money generated from sports betting will be distributed towards community improvements, problem gambling programs, and charity causes.
Rebecca George, executive director for the Washington Indian Gaming Association, has said that as sports betting has been placed into the existing tribal gaming system, any revenues generated from the industry will remain in the state. These funds will then be used to improve communities.
Ms. George also stressed that the new operations would boost the local economy as well as create local jobs. She said it would also fund critical services to help those in need.
All of the tribes in Washington State are excited at the prospect of participating in sports betting services. A spokeswoman for the Kalispel Tribe revealed to the media that the tribe is excited to go from legislative approval to new compacts. Tribal leaders and the governor are set to get the ball rolling this week with the compact signing.
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