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Is sports betting legal in Washington?

Yes. Washington has legalized sports betting on reservation lands of federally recognized Native American tribes. It is available in both retail and online formats, but the majority of sports betting taking place in the state is occurring in person.

Some casinos have partnered with operators such as DraftKings or Caesars, allowing patrons to use those apps on-site. Other casinos offer their own sports betting site or app that bettors can use to place wagers or build bets before visiting a kiosk or cage.

Retail sportsbook locations in Washington

All of the legal sportsbooks in Washington are located at tribal casinos. Roughly half of such casinos in the state have or will soon have sportsbooks. Here’s where you can bet on sports in Washington:

CasinoSports Betting App or SiteSports Betting PartnerSportsbook Opening Date
7 Cedars CasinoNoCedars SportsbookJan. 12, 2023
Angel of the Winds Casino ResortNoIGTDec. 2, 2021
Chewelah CasinoCaesars SportsbookCaesarsFeb. 11, 2022
Emerald Queen Casino & Hotel (Tacoma)BETEQC AppBetMGMDec. 20, 2021
Emerald Queen Casino at FifeBETEQC AppBetMGMDec. 27, 2021
Ilani ResortIlani SportsbookKambiOct. 20, 2022
Kalispel CasinoNoIGTApril 9, 2022
Little Creek Casino ResortNoIGTFeb. 2, 2022
Muckleshoot CasinoNoCaesarsFeb. 10, 2022
Northern Quest Resort & CasinoNoIGTDec. 6, 2021
Quil Ceda Creek CasinoDraftKings SportsbookDraftKingsSept. 20, 2022
Silver Reef Casino ResortNoBetfred
Snoqualmie CasinoSnoqualmie Casino AppIGTSept. 10, 2021
Spokane Tribe CasinoCaesars SportsbookCaesasFeb. 12, 2022
Suquamish Clearwater Casino ResortNoFanDuelFeb. 5, 2022
Swinomish Casino & LodgeUnibet SportsbookUnibetApr. 13, 2023
Tulalip Resort CasinoDraftKings SportsbookDraftKingsSept. 20, 2022

Live and potential sportsbook apps in Washington

Because Washington sports betting law is so restrictive about where you can bet, most tribes have confined their sports betting options to their retail gambling facilities.

Many locations now offer their respective sports betting partner app to be used on casino grounds, and some even let you build your bet at home or anywhere else in the state before placing the wager at a casino kiosk or betting cage.

The following is a list of sports betting operators in Washington and which casinos they offer their services.

Washington sports betting law

Sports betting became legal in Washington under the passage of HB 2638. The bill went to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk in March 2020 after passing both chambers of the Washington Legislature convincingly. Inslee’s signature on the bill rendered it into law on March 25, 2020.

The first location to accept a legal sports bet in the state was the Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie. The successful wager marked the end of a year-and-a-half of preparation.

The text of the law made each of the state’s federally recognized Native American tribes eligible to offer sports betting on their reservation lands. They must apply to amend their gambling compacts, but any tribal groups with casino locations may do so. However, Washington sports betting is currently the subject of a lawsuit between Maverick Sports and the federal government. Maverick is appealing a District Court ruling that Maverick was incorrect in assessing the validity of Washington compacts that permitted tribes in the state to offer sports betting. The result of the lawsuit could change who can offer sports betting in Washington in the future.

The current law allows both retail and online sports betting. However, the law strictly limits sports betting activity to actual tribal lands, no matter how it occurs. So, although the law technically allows online sportsbooks, the reality is that it sets up a mostly retail market.

Washington’s sportsbooks can offer wagering on almost any type of event. The law mentions professional sports, college sports, esports, and the Olympics as acceptable fodder for a bet. The only exceptions are wagers involving in-state colleges and universities and minor league games. So, you can’t bet on the University of Washington Huskies, the Washington State Cougars, or any other state school.

Comparing Washington and Oregon sports betting

Of the two states that border Washington, Oregon allows sports betting, but Idaho does not. Let’s explore how Washington sports betting compares to its neighbor to the south.

The laws in both Washington and Oregon allow for online and retail sports betting. However, the entities legally offering sports betting in each state differ. In Washington, the federally recognized tribes in the state can offer sports betting, and that’s it. In Oregon, most sports betting happens through the Oregon Lottery. So, in many ways, the Oregon sports betting experience is much more of a government operation.

Oregon does offer statewide sports betting through an app. That was the Scoreboard app, a lottery brand powered by SBTech for a while. However, the Oregon Lottery agreed to turn the branding and operation of the app over to DraftKings in August 2021, and the changeover happened in January 2022. DraftKings is the only legal sportsbook app in Oregon.

Meanwhile, Washington’s laws restrict sports betting entirely to tribal lands, regardless of how it occurs.

Neither state’s sportsbooks have any taxes to pay under the law. Washington’s law doesn’t require any payments from tribes upfront. It only requires that participating tribes split the costs after the fact. Oregon sports betting is government-run and doesn’t have to pay taxes to itself.

Finally, the retail scene for sports betting in the two states is quite different. While Washington limits the activity to tribal lands, Oregon swings in the other direction and opens the possibility of sports betting kiosks in any lottery retailer location. Additionally, due to the terms of their compacts with the state, tribes in Oregon may offer sports betting at their casinos, too.

Popular sports to bet on in Washington

Washington is home to roughly 8 million people. With that many residents, there are plenty of fanbases to root for the teams in the state. Unsurprisingly, the popular teams are based in Seattle, the state’s largest city and metropolitan area. Typically, popular draws for wagering would also include major college teams. However, these are not on the menu below because of Washington’s law against betting on in-state college teams.

NFL

Football is the most popular sport in the United States, and NFL games are the biggest draw for American sports bettors everywhere, including Washington. Washington is home to a single NFL team: the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks partner with the Snoqualmie Casino, allowing the casino to use the team logo for promos and advertising.

NBA

Washington’s only NBA franchise, the Seattle SuperSonics, packed up and left for Oklahoma City in 2008. Since then, Seattle (and Washington) fans and bettors have been without a hometown team.

MLB

Major League Baseball maintains a loyal fanbase in most of its teams’ resident cities. One of those cities is Seattle, and the fandom for the Seattle team likely extends to other states without MLB teams, like Oregon and Idaho. 

NHL

In years past, there wouldn’t have been much to say about hockey in Washington, but the NHL’s newest team now calls Seattle home: 

With the Vancouver Canucks playing just across the US-Canada border from Seattle, there are likely a number of Canucks fans in the Seattle region as well.

Other legal gambling

Sports betting is not the only type of gambling that’s legal in Washington. Here is some info on your other main options:

A word about online gambling

First, though, a word about what you can’t do: Washington law makes it a felony to gamble over the internet. According to the Washington State Gambling Commission website, “it is a class C felony to knowingly transmit or receive gambling information by telephone, internet or any other similar means.” 

Class C felonies in Washington are punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison. The law defines “gambling information” as “any wager made, information as to wagers, betting odds, and changes in betting odds.

The commission goes on to clarify that each bet constitutes an offense. That means a single wagering session might qualify as an entire slate of offenses.

Casinos

The most obvious places to find gambling in Washington are its casinos. Along with the sportsbook locations mentioned above, you can find slots, table games, and poker at these venues. The gambling commission additionally lists the following games as possibilities at the state’s casinos: “blackjack, red dog, craps, roulette, baccarat (mini, midi, and full size), pai gow poker, Sic-Bo, Big 6, chuck-a-Luck, keno, and electronic tribal lottery terminals.” So, if you’re interested in a change of pace from sports betting, try one of these places:

Make sure to visit the casino website or call ahead if there’s a specific game you want to play.

Card rooms

Another type of betting available in Washington is through the public card rooms in the state. Washington law takes the unusual approach of allowing standalone card rooms but banning social card games. Additionally, the decision to allow card rooms is up to local governments in the state, and roughly 70 jurisdictions have banned card rooms. 

Nevertheless, there are several locations to play house-banked card games in Washington. By law, they cannot have more than 15 tables, and there are wagering limits ($400), but there are still plenty of options. In addition to poker, most card-based table games — like blackjack, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, and pai gow poker — are also available at these venues. As with the casinos, check your chosen room’s website or call ahead if you want a particular game.

On July 20, 2023, the Washington State Gambling Commission agreed to let cardrooms raise the wager limit to $400 by a 3-2 vote.

Horse betting

Washington has two live racing venues and roughly a dozen off-track betting locations. Some facilities are part of the above casinos and card rooms, but others reside as humble diversions in local bar-and-grill restaurants. They all offer the ability to wager on simulcast races nationwide, including at one of the state’s two tracks. The two live racing locations in Washington are Emerald Downs and Sun Downs.

It is also possible to place a wager on horse races at off-track betting locations. Although Washington severely restricts online gambling, the state still allows people to play on licensed online horse betting sites. TVG remains one of the best available options, offering a broadcast network.

Daily fantasy sports

There are no active daily fantasy sports providers in Washington. Washington has judged DFS to be a game of chance, and it is subject to the same criminal penalties the state has on the books for other types of online gambling. Although fantasy football games online may seem harmless, do not engage in them or attempt to seek out ways to compete in DFS contests while you are in the state of Washington.

Even office pools and March Madness pools are illegal in the state. Washington’s punitive approach to online gambling is one of the harshest in the nation, particularly in light of the myriad forms of legal gambling otherwise available in the state.

Washington sports betting FAQ

Who oversees Washington sports betting?

The Washington State Gambling Commission. Although it is somewhat unusual for a state agency to maintain oversight over activities on tribal lands, the language of the 29 compacts with the state and the lack of commercial locations in Washington makes for a distinct situation.

Where can I bet on sports in Washington?

You can bet on sports at any tribal casino in the state that has applied for a license, received it, and launched sports betting on its tribal lands. There are more than a dozen active sportsbooks in Washington right now, and the majority of the state’s 29 federally recognized tribes have already received their licenses or applied for one, so it appears likely that the number of active sportsbooks will continue to grow. 

Is mobile sports betting available in Washington?

Yes, but in a limited context. Mobile sportsbooks are only legal in Washington on their host casino’s tribal lands. Some of Washington’s tribes have moved forward with this limited option, so it’s incorrect to say that mobile wagering is completely unavailable. However, in most areas of Washington, you cannot place a wager on your mobile device.

Who can bet on sports in Washington?

You must be at a tribal location that offers sports betting and of legal age to gamble there. Washington does not have a standardized gambling age at its casinos. You can play at some locations if you are 18, but others require you to be at least 21. It’s best to confirm with your chosen location before you travel if you have any questions about your eligibility to bet on sports.

Who can apply for a Washington sports betting license?

The state’s 29 federally recognized tribes. A complete list of tribes that have received their licenses or have applied for one is available here. Most of the state’s tribes have already received their licenses.