Washington sports betting cleared another hurdle Wednesday as the state’s gambling commission approved sports wagering licensing rules.
The rules will go into effect August 30, following unanimous approval from the commission. Sports betting in Washington can only take place in-person at a tribal facility.
Sportsbooks could potentially go live after that date if they get licenses approved by tribal gaming agencies and the WA Gambling Commission.
What’s in the WA sports betting rules?
The approved rules look broadly similar to the one published earlier in July.
The major change is a cut in the cost of a ‘major vendor license’ from $85,000 to $65,000.
The bulk of rules are also still being written, as the state pushes to go live by NFL betting season.
‘Getting rid of the black market’
Commission chair Bud Sizemore hailed the amount of work that had gone into getting the rules ready for a vote in such a short space of time.
“I think legal sports wagering is a benefit to the citizens of Washington and we are getting rid of the black market, so good work everyone,” Sizemore added.
Rebecca George, Executive Director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA), issued a statement:
“This vote by the Gambling Commission means Washington State tribes remain on track to be able to go live with sports betting on the premises of tribal casinos in the near future. We applaud the effort and work that the Gambling Commission and its staff have put into keeping this process moving forward in a timely and responsible way, and we are pleased that it appears that interested adults in Washington State will soon be able to place wagers on sporting events in a safe and responsible way.
“Tribal sports betting will boost our economy and generate much needed revenue to fund important services for communities across Washington.”
What next for WA sports betting?
Back in June, Washington renegotiated gaming compacts with 15 tribes in the state to include sports betting.
That deal was signed off by Gov. Jay Inslee on July 12 and sent to the Department of the Interior for approval.
The DOI has 45 days from that signature to approve the compacts, making August 26 a key date.
There are 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington State. Sixteen have agreed to sports betting compacts, while other remain in negotiations.
What will WA sports betting look like?
Washington sports betting must happen on tribal land, per federal law. However that does allow for mobile betting within the gaming facility itself, or so-called Mississippi mobile.
A recent survey by FM3 Research on behalf of the Washington Indian Gaming Association found 41% of voters were in favor of the sports wagering expansion.
The state has around 7.6 million people, although the lack of true mobile sports wagering will hinder the market.