Online Gambling a Step Closer in Washington State

Online gambling in Washington State is a step nearer after an important agreement was reached on Tuesday (May 11).

The agreement was between State gambling officials and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. It will see the beginning of legal sports gambling at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino. It was 21 years ago that the casino was opened, just three days after Christmas. A lovely late Christmas present indeed.

Kevin Zenishek is the executive director of their casino operations. He sees this agreement as “pretty monumental” and a big step forward to introduce a form of sports gambling that is both “legal and honest.”

They have already been busy planning converting the current Turf Club Lounge into the new Turf Club Sports Book. Construction is due to begin in June of this year and the hope is everything will be ready in time for the new NFL season in September.

More announcements on introducing gaming is on its way with between seven and ten tribes being given the go-ahead, adding to the four that have already been told they can pursue the new gaming compact amendment.

It’s not going to be a perfect world when sports gambling does begin. There are certain rules in place that will limit the number of events that can be gambled on. While betting on college sports will be allowed, that’s not going to be the case with those taking place in-state.

Nor will it be possible to bet on minor league teams. When it comes to the top events such as the NFL, NBA, MLS and NHL, then there won’t be any problem at all doing that. Betting on eSports will also be allowed.

All of this wouldn’t be possible but for a US Supreme Court ruling three years ago. That allowed states to decide for themselves whether or not to legalize gambling. Many have done just that in the years that have followed. The thought of all that tax revenue from gambling was just too much to resist.

It was last year that the Washington Legislature passed a bill on the subject of gambling in the state. It allowed sports betting at tribal casinos so is a tentative step. However, this is a big improvement on previous legislation.

It had been illegal to gamble on any form of electronic device and a class C felony. The new legislation does allow gamblers to bet on their mobiles using an app. Not that mobile though as you will need to do so on casino grounds for it to be legal. The app that can be downloaded won’t work once the gamblers leave the casino.

June will see state officials drafting the all-important licensing and regulations. A public hearing of the Gambling Commission will take place on the 10th. The hope is that everything will be in place by the end of August. Those who are ready to launch their sportsbooks will then be able to prepare for their launch.