Gambling Commission approves deals with tribes for sports betting

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Opening day for sports betting at tribal casinos in Washington drew closer on June 10 when state regulators approved critical deals with 15 tribes.

Without debate, the Washington State Gambling Commission supported amendments to each of the Tribal Gaming Agreements, which explain how betting can be made in casinos as well as in hotels, conference centers and places of entertainment. adjacent.

These deals still need to be approved by the governor and federal authorities, but there’s a good chance you can place bets on most college and professional sporting events before the Seattle Seahawks start the NFL regular season. in September.

The 15 federally recognized tribes whose compact amendments were approved on June 10 by the commission are the Tulalips, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Cowlitz, Jamestown S’Klallam, Kalispel, Lummi, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, Shoalwater Bay, Spokane, Squaxin and Swinomish.

“The Commission’s action is a great victory, not only for tribal communities but for all residents of Washington state,” Rebecca George, executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, said in a statement.

“By integrating sports betting into the existing – and proven – tribal gaming system, the state has ensured that sports betting revenues will stay in Washington and help uplift historically marginalized communities, while creating local jobs, by stimulating the state economy and by financing essential services. for those who need it, ”said George.

Washington passed a sports betting law in 2020. It allows betting on professional, college, international and Olympic sports, as well as electronic sports. It prohibits betting on state college teams, minor league sports, and high school or youth sports.

Under the proposed deals, betting will be permitted in a sports betting environment – similar to what one might see in a Las Vegas casino – as well as in kiosks on a gambling hall. In addition, players will be able to create accounts so that they can place bets from a mobile device.

The device would allow betting elsewhere on the “premises” of casino properties. This could expand betting options to hotels, conference rooms, and casino-attached entertainment spaces. But betting would not be allowed on golf courses and in convenience stores that are not directly attached to a casino.

The proposed compact amendments must now be signed by Governor Jay Inslee and the chief of each tribe. After that, they go to the secretary of the US Department of the Interior.

A compact amendment is not final and sports betting cannot begin until it is published by the agency in the Federal Register. The federal agency has 45 days to act. If no action is taken, a compact amendment is considered approved and published on day 46.

The Tulalip Tribes reached an agreement with the state gambling agency in April to license sports betting facilities at Tulalip Resort Casino and Quil Ceda Creek Casino. This was the first of the proposed amendments to the pact to be completed.

The Suquamish Tribe, which operates the Clearwater Casino in Kitsap County, were the second to strike a deal. Its provisions served as a model for pacts with most other tribes.

While sports betting is a growing business across the country, tribal leaders told Commissioners it was seen as an add-on game, not a major expansion of the game.

A “small stream of income (is) expected, but it all benefits the tribe and the local community,” said Shawn Yanity, president of the Stillaguamish tribe, owners of Angel of the Winds casino.

Glen Gobin, vice president of the Tulalip Tribes, told commissioners that over the years, gaming revenues have generated “substantial economic gains for the tribes and the state of Washington.” Collectively, tribal businesses are the state’s seventh largest employer, he said.

Sports betting will create additional jobs, generate additional income and improve the customer experience, Gobin said.

Regulations pose a new challenge, but the tribes believe they can keep criminal elements out.

“We have regulated this industry very well,” Gobin told the Commissioners.

Some Commissioners expressed concern that the ease of placing bets outside of traditional gambling areas – such as hotel rooms, potentially – could encourage those addicted to gambling.

“It is not in our best interest to take bets from someone who has a gambling problem,” said Gobin.

At the June 10 hearing, tribal representatives from the tribes addressed the commissioners either at the virtual meeting or in writing. Almost to one person, they praised the commission staff for working together to make strong sideboards for the new business.

Washington’s deliberate and cautious entry into the field not only protects the citizens of the state and provides a safety valve for betting in the illicit market, but also continues Washington’s policy of limiting gambling with strict supervision. “wrote Bill Sterud, president of Puyallup. Indian tribe.

Also on June 10, the commissioners set a date of July 28 to enact a number of new or revised rules to regulate sports betting. If action is taken by that date, the rule changes will take effect around August 30, two weeks before the Seahawks’ season opens on September 12.

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