ARLINGTON — Sports betting has arrived in Snohomish County.
Angel of the Winds began taking wagers on professional and collegiate sporting events at the start of the month, the first tribal casino in the county and one of only three in the state to offer that mode of legal gaming.
“Business has been fairly moderate. We’re getting the word out and taking a pretty cautious approach,” said Travis O’Neil, the casino’s chief executive officer. “Our advantage is that we’re opening sooner than others. We’ll take our time and see how the market responds.”
The Tulalip Tribes are also making plans for sports wagering at its casino. In all, 16 federally recognized tribes are able to offer sports betting under gaming compacts negotiated with the state and ratified by federal authorities. One more, Sauk-Suiattle, is in the process of securing authorization.
At Angel of the Winds, sports betting is handled in The Book, formerly the Keno lounge. Initially, wagers can only be made in the traditional fashion, at a counter. In time, one will be able to place bets at self-serve kiosks and to set up accounts so they can place bets from a mobile device, O’Neil said.
Washington’s sports wagering law, passed in 2020, allows betting on professional, collegiate, international and Olympic sports, as well as e-sports. You cannot bet on college teams from Washington, however. And the law bars bets on minor league sports and high school or youth athletics.
Under the gaming compacts — which are nearly identical for each tribe — wagers can be made on mobile devices on the gaming floor and elsewhere on the premises of casino properties, such as hotel rooms, 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.
The Stillaguamish Tribe is contracting with International Game Technology (IGT) to power its sports betting. IGT previously inked a deal with the Snoqualmie Tribe, which operates the Snoqualmie Casino in King County. The firm also signed on with the Kalispel Tribe, which operates the Northern Quest Casino in Spokane.
Legalized sports betting is a growing industry across the country. In Washington, it could net $94 million of revenue a year to the tribal casinos, according to a Washington State University study. That is projected to be four to five years from now when sports betting is more firmly established in venues across the state. To generate that number, gamblers would need to wager in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion.
A survey conducted last summer as part of the study found betting on sports is a pretty rare activity for residents. Only 5% of 517 respondents said they bet on sports in the previous year. That could have included office pools.
But in response to another survey question, roughly 13.5% of 1,003 respondents said they would be somewhat or extremely likely to consider betting on sports if it became legal in-state, the study says.
“When you think about recreational activities, participation from 14% of the population is significant,” Kahlil Philander, the study’s principal investigator and assistant professor in the School of Hospitality Business Management at WSU Everett, said in a release.
Jerry Cornfield: firstname.lastname@example.org; 360-352-8623; Twitter: @dospueblos.
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