Four tribal tribes in Washington – the Tulalip, Suquamish, Snoqualmie and Kalispel – have entered into agreements with the state to start sports betting. The change stems from the legislation passed earlier this year when the state allowed sports wagering exclusively for tribal operators.
The four tribes are now in the process of negotiating a number of legislative information with the State Gaming Commission to ensure that policies are in place to tackle safer gaming, bet credibility, regulation and support for problem gambling services.
Quoted by NW News Network, Rebecca George, director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, said: “There’s definitely excitement from the sports bettor to the operator and other companies that are involved. This is the first new opportunity for a gaming product in our state for quite a while.”
The decision to limit wagering on sports to tribal interests was not without controversy. Yet, in the final version of the bill, the legislature has made it clear that tribes should have exclusive rights. “It has long been the policy of this state to prohibit all forms and means of gambling except where carefully 10 and specifically authorised and regulated,” it stipulated.
In explaining this exclusivity it said: “The legislature intends to further this policy by authorising sports wagering on a very limited basis by restricting it to tribal casinos in the state of Washington.
“Tribes have more than twenty years’ experience with, and a proven 14 track record of, successfully operating and regulating gaming facilities in accordance with tribal gaming compacts. Tribal casinos can operate sports wagering pursuant to these tribal gaming compacts, offering the benefits of the same highly regulated environment to sports wagering.”