After the successful vote for the legalisation of sports betting in 2020, Washington state has started to work on the terms of legal sports betting in 2021. The new sports betting bill in Washington will allow online operators and mobile gambling alike, hopes say. This article provides a quick overview of the changes and legal issues for players in Washington state.
Last year, the Washington Legislature legalized sports betting, exclusively in tribal casinos. But Brian Considine, legal and legislative manager of the state Gambling Commission, said regulatory details have to be finalized before Washington tribal sportsbooks can open. Now, terms have been discussed in relation to the first sportsbook to open. Online gambling news in the US will remain up to date in terms of the new sports betting bill in Washington.
The new sports betting bill in Washington
Earlier this year, we published a quick overview of expected gambling law changes in the US. Now, it is great news that Washington state, which is considered one of the most strict anti-gambling states in the US, finally catches up. Negotiations are still happening around the first regulated sportsbook, but hopes are to start by the beginning of the NFL regular season. The Washington State Gambling Commission and the Tulalip Tribes announced a tentative agreement Friday to usher in legal sports betting to a limited degree (Source: Kuow.org).
The agreement suggests a similar agreement to tribal casinos across Washington state. That being exclusivity for tribes for this form of gambling. Both online and mobile casino operators will remain in the authorized tribal casino resorts. In the new legal sportsbook, betting on top-level professional leagues, the Olympic Games and other international events will be possible. However, esports and betting on in-state school events remain illegal in this regard.
How sports betting in Washington came about
Washington state had one of the strictest gambling laws in the US. Back in 2018, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), was another turning point in American gambling laws. Associated with the Federal Wire Act, the PASPA made it illegal to place a bet on sporting events in the US online or via other wire transfer methods. Following this act, states independently started to change these laws, which you can read about in our related article.
On this note, Washington seemed an unlikely candidate to change the PASPA legislation and legalise sports betting. Now, after two years of the legalisation wave across US states, Washington is in motion. Representative Storm Peterson was the bill’s sponsor and managed to push it into law by March 2020. We consider the proceedings relatively fast since the bill did not need to go through a voter referendum, due to current world health circumstances.
What Washington sports betting will look like now
As we have mentioned above, while sports betting is now legal in the state, restrictions apply. The bill refers to the state’s tribal casinos solely. Therefore, even online casino and betting activity will have to take place on the tribal casinos’ property. What does that mean for online sportsbooks in the US like Bovada? For now, betting is not legal state-wide only in the specific area. However, with the new bill passing quickly and Washington showing much progress, we remain hopeful. Especially, since even more conservative states are now realising the impact of online casinos and sports betting across the US.
While we consider this the future of gambling, of course, legal actions need to be in place first. On the other hand, neighbour state Organ does have legal state-wide online and mobile sports betting. Therefore, Washington residents might enjoy these benefits alike, if the tribal casinos are too far and inconvenient. If Washington does not legalise effectively, it will lose revenue to the neighbouring states, hence we suspect further progress purely based on economic sense.
What tribal gaming means for Washington
Tribal governments in Washington rely on gaming revenue for essential government services allowing for self-sufficiency. Unlike commercial gaming, tribal government gaming pays for critical housing, healthcare, education, natural resources and jobs for our communities. Tribal facilities also benefit the surrounding non-tribal community, as they are major employers and purchasers of goods and services. Unlike out-of-state commercial operators, the tax monies and revenue generated from tribal casinos stay in Washington (Source: washingtonindiangaming.org). Now, the Tulalip Tribe will be the first one to launch the new sports betting bill in Washington. The Tulalip Tribe can host and facilitate sports betting at licensed casinos.