The Quil Ceda Creek Casino in Tulalip. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

The Quil Ceda Creek Casino in Tulalip. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

Tribal casinos get federal OK to set up sports betting

The Tulalips expect to have their sports book operational sometime after Nov. 1.

TULALIP — The Tulalip and Stillaguamish tribes can proceed with sports betting in their casinos after they cleared a final hurdle Wednesday.

But it will be a few weeks before any wagers can be placed.

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs approved amendments to each tribe’s gambling compact with the state. The compacts spell out how wagering can be conducted in their casinos as well as in hotels, conference centers and entertainment venues. The bureau’s actions were published in the Federal Register Wednesday morning.

Overall, 16 tribes in Washington are seeking federal approval for sports betting. On Wednesday, nine of them, including the Tulalips and the Stillaguamish, had their amended gaming compacts listed in the register, the last step in the review process.

Now each tribe can focus on setting up sports books and lounges, and hiring someone to conduct their sports betting activities.

“We’re moving ahead as fast as we can,” said Teri Gobin, chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes. They hope to open areas for sports wagering in the Tulalip Resort Casino and Quil Ceda Casino between Nov. 1 and Jan. 1, she said.

“We’re getting close but we’re not there yet. We want to be sure we are choosing the right vendors,” she said. “We want to be sure we make the right decision for the tribe.”

Fifteen firms are in the process of getting licensed by the state Gambling Commission to operate in Washington. They include industry giants like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesar’s Sportsbook, Scientific Games and BetMGM.

One powerhouse, International Game Technology (IGT) has already inked a deal with the Snoqualmie Tribe to power sports betting at the Snoqualmie Casino in King County.

The state approved the first sports wagering vendor license Tuesday and that will become public Wednesday, according to Jennifer LaMont of the commission’s licensing unit.

Washington’s sports wagering law, passed in 2020, allows betting on professional, collegiate, international and Olympic sports, as well as e-sports. You will not be able to bet on college teams from Washington, however. And the law bars bets on minor league sports and high school or youth athletics.

Under the mostly identical agreements, 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 such as hotels, conference rooms and entertainment spaces attached to a casino. No wagers can be made on golf courses or in convenience stores not directly attached to a casino.

In April, the Tulalip Tribes became the first to reach agreement with the state gambling agency on how to carry out sports betting at its casinos. In June, the state gambling panel unanimously approved deals with most of the tribes.

The nine federally recognized tribes whose compact amendments were listed Wednesday are the Tulalips, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Lummi, Puyallup, Squaxin, Cowlitz and Spokane.

Still awaiting action are the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Jamestown S’Klallam, Kalispel, Muckleshoot, Shoalwater Bay, Swinomish and Skokomish.

Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com; 360-352-8623 @dospueblos

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