Washington Sports Betting Launches With First Tribal Casino

Posted on September 10, 2021
Washington sports betting
Posted By on September 10, 2021

Washington sports betting kicked off Thursday as the state’s first tribal casino opened its retail sportsbook.

The Snoqualmie Tribe opened its sportsbook at the Snoqualmie Casino just outside Seattle at 11 a.m. Thursday. It was a goal to have the tribal sportsbooks open for the NFL betting season.

“Today’s commencement of sports betting at the Snoqualmie tribe’s casino marks an important milestone in the progress that Washington State’s tribes have made in regaining their self-reliance,” Rebecca George, Washington Gaming Association executive director, said in a statement. “The launch of sports betting is going to provide a real boost for tribal communities that are still working to recover from the tough impacts of COVID shutdowns.

“And the positive benefits will extend well beyond tribal communities themselves.”

More tribes preparing for Washington sports betting

The Snoqualmie is the first tribe to open a Washington sportsbook. Eight others are expecting to launch in the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, the US Department of the Interior approved the updated compacts of those nine Washington tribes. Those tribes are:

  • Snoqualmie
  • Cowlitz
  • Lummi tribes
  • Puyallup
  • Spokane
  • Squaxin
  • Stillaguamish
  • Suquamish
  • Tulalip

Seven other tribes are still waiting for the Department of the Interior to approve their updated compacts.

WA sports betting journey

Washington was the first state to legalize sports betting in 2020 as Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill legalizing retail betting at tribal casinos in March 2020. Still, it took until this month to launch.

The tribes had to renegotiate their gaming compacts with the state, which Inslee signed in July 2021. The Department of the Interior ultimately had to approve those as well, with the first batch clearing the hurdle this month.

It also took regulators until July to finalize rules for the industry.

Big Thursday for US sportsbooks

Thursday also saw the launch of sports betting in Arizona and South Dakota.

Several Arizona online sportsbooks launched in the early hours Thursday morning. A few retail sportsbooks opened their doors during the day as well.

In the city of Deadwood, South Dakota, a ceremonial first bet was placed at Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort Thursday morning. Four casinos were ready to take bets Wednesday.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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