Inslee signs compacts for sports betting in tribal casinos

Federal review is next. Wagering on pro and college sporting events could arrive in time for fall games.

OLYMPIA —Sports betting in Washington tribal casinos is a step closer.

Gov. Jay Inslee last week signed individual compact amendments with 15 Washington tribes, including the Tulalip Tribes and the Stillaguamish, which would like to start taking bets by the start of the NFL season. A compact amendment with a 16th tribe could reach the governor this week.

The leader of each tribe will sign their respective compact amendment and send it to the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for review and listing in the Federal Register.

Washington passed a sports wagering law in 2020. It allows betting on professional, collegiate, international and Olympic sports, as well as e-sports. It bars bets on in-state college teams, minor league sports and high school or youth sports.

Under the proposed compact amendments, bets will be allowed in a sports book environment — similar to what one might see in a Las Vegas casino — as well as at kiosks on a gaming floor. Also, gamblers will be able to set up accounts so they can place bets from a mobile device.

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

A compact amendment is not final, and sports wagering 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 the 46th day.

In May, the agency approved similar-styled compact amendments negotiated between the state of Arizona and several tribes.

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