Washington In-Person Sports Betting Nears Launch After Feds Approve Compacts

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Washington’s first retail sportsbooks could open before the 2021 NFL season opener after federal officials approved nine tribal gaming compacts earlier this week.

The Department of the Interior published nine compacts in the Federal Registrar Wednesday, the final official step for ratification. The Interior Department’s approval is the final major step for the tribes to open retail sportsbooks.

There is no formal timeline but both the tribes and state regulators have targeted a launch before this year’s NFL season, perennially sportsbooks’ most lucrative time of the year. Online sports betting is not permitted outside tribal casino properties.

Tribe Details

The following tribes’ gaming compacts were approved earlier this week. Several books have publicly said they will plan to launch this September:

  • Cowlitz Indian Tribe: iIlani
  • Lummi Nation: Silver Reef Casino
  • Puyallup Tribe: Emerald Queen Casino; Emerald Queen Casino at Fife
  • Snoqualmie Indian Tribe: Snoqualmie Casino
  • Spokane Tribe of Indians: Chewelah Casino; Two Rivers Casino
  • Squaxin Island Tribe: Little Creek Casino Resort
  • Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians: Angel of The Winds Casino
  • Suquamish Tribe: Clearwater Casino Resort
  • Tulalip Tribes: Quil Ceda Creek Casino; Tulalip Resort Casino

Bettors will have a wide range of professional leagues to wager on including the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. College betting is permitted, but not on in-state college programs such as the University of Washington or Washington State.

Former Washington State Gambling Commission Chair Chris Stearns tweeted that seven additional tribes are awaiting federal approval. He said additional tribes could also pursue sportsbooks at their respective casinos.

While all 29 tribes in WA have class III gaming compacts w/ the state, 23 of them operate class III casinos. Meaning that 16 out of the 23 tribes in WA will soon offer #sportsbetting, with more likely to join. pic.twitter.com/lO4lGFnsyD

— Chris Stearns (@stearnsseattle) September 2, 2021

Pacific Northwest Betting Options Remain Limited

Though both Washington and Oregon are set to have legal sports betting before the 2021 NFL season kicks off, there are limited options in the region.

Oregon has only one statewide mobile betting option, a lottery-run sportsbook that is transitioning into the DraftKings brand. It also has a handful of retail sportsbooks at its tribal casinos.

Meanwhile, neighboring Idaho has no legal betting options and appears it will be one of the last states to approve sports wagering.

Washington and Idaho are also among the last remaining states without legal daily fantasy sports options. DraftKings has suspended its DFS operations in Oregon as it takes over the state lottery’s digital sportsbook.

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