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Nine Washington tribes get federal approval to set up sports betting

Sep 1, 2021, 4:33 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2021, 6:14 am
Sports betting...
Sports betting will soon be allowed in Washington state on tribal lands. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved sports betting for nine tribes in Washington state.

The final approval of compacts from Tulalip, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Lummi, Puyallup, Squaxin, Cowlitz and Spokane tribes marks a major step in the regulation process.

“Along with these compacts, seven other tribal compacts revised to allow sports betting are expected to receive Interior Department approval in upcoming days,” said Rebecca George, executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA).

“We do gaming right, and the public can rest assured that we will conduct sports betting in a fair and careful manner,” George said. “It also ratifies the legislature’s carefully considered decision to limit sports betting to tribal casinos, which will ensure that revenues from this activity will stay in our state and boost our local economy.”

The Everett Herald reports that the Tulalip and Quil Ceda Casinos are hoping to start letting people place sports wagers by early November.

“Wagering for sports will be at the sports book — think of that as like a lounge within the gaming facility,” Julie Lies, the tribal liaison for the Washington State Gambling Commission, told KIRO Radio in June. “Patrons or players would be able to place bets on kiosks that may be in the gaming facilities on the gaming floor or on the premises.”

“So that’s outside an event center or in a restaurant,” she added. “Then there’s also a mobile component that’s within the premises of the gaming facility, and then that area is also going to be geofenced.”

The Legislature approved the “tribal only” sports betting plan in 2020 in the wake of a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision, where justices ruled that a law that had blocked most states from sports betting was unconstitutional, clearing the way for states to pass their own rules.

The bill passed by the Legislature would allow gambling on major league professional sports, the Olympic Games, and other international events. There would also be betting on college sports, excepting collegiate games involving in-state schools. There will be no online or mobile gaming options outside the boundaries of tribal casinos.

KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott contributed to this report.

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Nine Washington tribes get federal approval to set up sports betting