Legal Sports Report

Washington Sports Betting

Washington sports betting was the first to legalize in 2020, though the outcome wasn’t what some wanted to see.

The state’s legislature legalized sports betting in Washington at tribal casinos only. Mobile betting will only be allowed while on tribal land.

(Looking for Washington DC sports betting?)

Where can I bet on sports in Washington?

Sports betting in Washington will be allowed only at tribal casinos once it launches. Just because a tribe can offer WA sports betting does not necessarily mean it will choose to do so.

There are 30 tribal casinos in the state of Washington operated by 24 tribes:

CasinoOperatorOffers sports betting?
12 Tribes Resort Casino in OmakConfederated Tribes of the Colville ReservationNo
Angel of the Winds Casino in ArlingtonStillaguamish Tribe of IndiansNo
Chewelah Casino in ChewelahSpokane Tribe of IndiansNo
Clearwater Casino and Resort in SuquamishSuquamish TribeNo
Coulee Dam Casino in Coulee DamConfederated Tribes of the Colville ReservationNo
Elwha River Casino in Port AngelesLower Elwha Klallam TribeNo
Emerald Queen Casino in TacomaPuyallup TribeNo
Emerald Queen Casino at Fife in FifePuyallup TribeNo
Ilani Casino in RidgefieldCowlitz Indian TribeNo
Legends Casino in ToppenishConfederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama NationNo
Little Creek Casino Resort in SheltonSquaxin Island TribeNo
Lucky Eagle Casino in RochesterConfederated Tribes of the Chehlis ReservationNo
Mill Bay Casino in MansonConfederated Tribes of the Colville ReservationNo
Muckleshoot Indian Casino in AuburnMuckleshoot TribeNo
Nooksack Northwood Casino in LyndenNooksack Indian TribeNo
Northern Lights Casino in AnacortesSwinomish Indian Tribal CommunityNo
Northern Quest Casino in Airway HeightsKalispel Tribe of IndiansNo
Okanogan Bingo-Casino in OkanoganConfederated Tribes of the Colville ReservationNo
Point-No-Point Casino in KingstonPort Gamble S'Klallam TribeNo
Quil Ceda Creek Casino in TulalipTulalip TribesNo
Quinault Beach Resort and Casino in Ocean ShoresQuinault Indian NationNo
Red Wind Casino in OlympiaNisqually Indian TribeNo
Seven Cedars Casino in SequimJamestown S'Klallam TribeNo
Shoalwater Bay Casino in TokelandShoalwater Bay Indian TribeNo
Silver Reef Casino in FerndaleLummi NationNo
Skagit Valley Casino Resort in BowUpper Skagit Indian TribeNo
Snoqualmie Casino in SnoqualmieSnoqualmie Indian TribeNo
The Lucky Dog Casino in SkokomishSkokomish Indian TribeNo
Tulalip Resort Casino in TulalipTulalip TribesNo
Two Rivers Casino in DavenportSpokane Tribe of IndiansNo

It’s important to note that this may not be the path forward for Washington sports betting after all. Eric Persson, CEO of Maverick Gaming, which owns 19 of the state’s card rooms, said he would sue over the bill’s emergency clause.

When will online Washington sports betting launch?

Online Washington sports betting is technically allowed but only on tribal land.

The legislature ultimately preferred a slower approach to WA sports betting than some bills that would have legalized sports betting at cardrooms with open mobile betting.

Whether any tribes launch an app for Washington sports betting while on tribal land is up in the air. For instance, casinos in Mississippi have had the option to launch a mobile sports betting app geofenced to the casino since sports betting started in August 2018, but none have.

Recent Washington sports betting news

Legal Washington sports betting options

There are no sportsbooks open in Washington yet as Gov. Jay Inslee only signed the bill into law in March.

While an emergency clause in the bill made sports betting legal immediately, the tribes still need to add sports betting into their compacts with the state.

Washington’s sports betting bill allows betting on many standard markets:

  • Professional sports
  • College sports, except for events played by schools in the state of Washington
  • Olympic events and other international sports competitions
  • esports

How online betting in Washington will work

Online betting is only legal on tribal land. That means in order for any online sports betting app to work, you have to be on the tribal land associated with that sportsbook.

It’s not guaranteed that any sportsbook will use an app given the cost when the bettors will already be at a casino with a retail sportsbook.

Most popular sports to bet on in Washington

Washington has multiple professional sports teams, but it seems obvious which sport and team will take the most handle.

NFL betting in Washington

The Seattle Seahawks in the NFL should be the most-bet team in the state considering football usually accounts for most handle. The Seahawks enjoy one of the best home-field advantages in the league and could see strong support on game days.

NBA betting in Washington

Washington no longer has a pro basketball team after the Seattle Supersonics left for Oklahoma City. But Portland is just over the southern border, meaning the Portland Trail Blazers could become a popular team for Washington sportsbooks.

MLB betting in Washington

The Seattle Mariners in MLB should sustain the summer months well for sportsbooks in Washington. The team has the region to itself, with no other MLB team closer than the Bay Area of northern California.

NHL betting in Washington

Seattle will welcome an expansion NHL franchise in 2021-22. The team does not yet have a nickname but expansion teams tend to generate initial excitement that could carry over to the Washington sports betting market.

MLS betting in Washington

The Seattle Sounders FC in MLS will also likely see decent handle on their pro soccer games.

NCAA betting in Washington

Unfortunately for fans of Washington colleges, sportsbooks in the state cannot accept bets on local schools. That means should the Washington State University Cougars or the Washington Huskies make an NCAA basketball run or make a football bowl game, all of that handle will still belong to illegal sportsbook operators.

Washington and daily fantasy sports

Washington state is one of the few states from which daily fantasy sports operators do not accept tournament entries.

“Bracket pools, office sports pools, and fantasy sports have never been authorized as gambling activities in Washington State and are illegal,” according to the Washington State Gambling Commission‘s Sports Wagering FAQ.

Is horse betting legal in Washington?

Yes, betting on horse racing is legal in the state of Washington.

There are only two tracks that allow horse racing:

  • Emerald Downs in Auburn
  • Sun Downs in Kennewick

Betting on horse racing is also legal. There is one off-track betting (OTB) facility allowed in each county in Washington. Currently, 13 of the state’s 39 counties have an OTB facility, according to the Washington Horse Racing Commission.

Washington’s gambling regulators also license and regulate advance deposit wagering operators. These operators allow bettors to place horse bets from their phones and computers.

Six ADW operators have licenses to offer online horse race betting in the state:

Washington sports betting timeline

2020:¬†Sports betting finally passed. That’s not the end of the road.

There were two sports betting efforts put forth to start the legislative session. One involved the card rooms and tribal casinos, allowing both to offer retail and mobile sports betting.

The other was the eventual winner, which legalized sports betting only at tribal casinos.

But that tribal bill will likely be brought to court. An emergency clause was added to the bill so the bill would become law immediately after Gov. Jay Inslee signed it.

That was to get funding to the state’s gaming regulator immediately to fight the illegal sports betting market, Sen. Karen Keiser said. In reality, Maverick Gaming CEO Eric Persson thinks, it was to avoid the necessary referendum to change the state’s gambling laws.

There was no way to get 60% majority approval for the tribal-only bill, he said. He has said he would sue if the bill passed. His company solicited a legal opinion from former state senator and Washington Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge, who said there’s no legal reason for the emergency clause.

Washington sports betting FAQ

Is sports betting legal in Washington?

Yes, but not quite yet. The state legislature approved Washington sports betting at tribal casinos in 2020, but there are still some regulatory steps needed before you are able to place a sports bet.

Where can I bet on sports in Washington?

Currently, there are no options to bet on sports legally in Washington state.

There’s still work to be done before bets can be accepted even though sports betting was legalized by Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature in March. The tribes that can offer sports betting still need to come to an agreement with the state.

Eventually, sports betting will be available at some or all of the state’s 30 tribal casinos under the current law. It’s likely a lawsuit will challenge the law.

Can I bet on sports on my phone in Washington?

No, mobile sports betting is not currently legal in Washington state.

Under current law, tribal casinos could launch an app that would let bettors use their phones to place bets while physically on tribal land. But there is nothing in the law that would allow for statewide mobile sports betting.

Any websites or sportsbook apps that state they accept wagers from within the state of Washington are operating without a license. There is no consumer protection available for anyone that bets with those operations.

A bettor would have no legal recourse if the operation decided to not pay out a bet or to close their operations without refunding player accounts.

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