Tribal sports betting bill filed in Washington State

12 February 2019

A group of eight Washington Representatives have put forward a new bill that would legalise sports betting at tribal gaming facilities in the state.

House Bill 1975 would permit tribal casinos to offer sports wagering both in-person and via the internet, but does not include specific reference to mobile activities.

Only federally recognised Indian tribes would be able to offer sports betting and would be required to enter a Class III gaming compact with the state in order to operate such a service.

Should the bill come into law, consumers would be able to bet on professional sports and athletics events, collegiate sports contests, as well as Olympic and international sports competitions. The bill would not permit betting on horse racing.

Consumers placing wagers online would only be able to do so when they are physically present on the premises of the tribal gaming facility.

House Bill 1975 does not include information related to the licence application process and related fees, nor the taxation rates that Washington could place on sports betting.

At present, all forms of online gambling are recognised as a Class C felony in Washington, punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000 (£15,500/€17,700).

Washington is not the first state to consider tribal sports wagering, with a bill having also been put forward in Arizona last month. SB 1158 would legalise land-based tribal sports wagering, but prohibit betting on collegiate sporting events.

In October last year, USBookmaking partnered with the Santa Ana Star Casino in New Mexico, to launch a sports betting service in the state.

International Game Technology (IGT) is also working with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, providing its PlayDigital PlayShot sports betting solution at the Pearl River Resorts' Golden Moon Hotel & Casino and Silver Star Hotel & Casino, as well as the Bok Homa Casino in New Mexico.

Image: Richard Bauer