Sports betting could be a reality in Washington by this NFL season.
On Thursday, the Washington State Gambling Commission approved renegotiated gaming compacts with 15 tribes in the state.
The new compacts now include WA sports betting and will next be sent to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office for his signature.
Fast track for WA sports betting
Commission legal and legislative manager Brian Considine said the commission was fast-tracking sports wagering rules in order to get live by the end of August.
Draft rules are expected to be published on July 7. Then, after a period of public comment, they could potentially be approved on July 28.
The commission will offer three license types for different sizes of vendors (not payable by the tribes). It will charge a maximum of $85,000 for an annual license.
Those fees will be reviewed annually to ensure they match up with the Commission’s costs.
Important step for WA sports betting
Commission chair Bud Sizemore hailed a “tremendous accomplishment” in getting the compacts approved.
“A lot of work went into this and I want to thank everyone involved in this process,” Sizemore said.
Washington sports betting history
Washington was the first state in 2020 to pass sports betting legislation. It is limited to retail sportsbooks operated by Washington tribes.
Once ESHB 2638 passed, the state and tribes had to rework existing gaming compacts to include sports betting.
The launch target has long been 2021 NFL betting.
The 15 Washington Tribes
- Jamestown S’Klallam
- Shoalwater Bay
- Squaxin Island
There are 29 gaming facilities operated by 22 tribes in the state.
Washington sports betting next steps
Once Inslee signs the new compacts, they head to the United States Department of Interior for consideration and publication in the Federal Register.
Sports wagering in the state cannot start until publication.
Will Washington sports betting be big?
A recent survey by FM3 Research on behalf of the Washington Indian Gaming Association found 41% of voters are in favor of the sports wagering expansion.
The state has around 7.6 million people, although of course the lack of mobile sports wagering will hinder the market.