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US – Washington State Gambling Commission approves 15 tribal sports wagering compacts

By - 14 June 2021

The Washington State Gambling Commission unanimously approved sports wagering compact amendments for 15 Washington State federally recognised Tribes at its June 10, 2021 public meeting, including the Colville, Cowlitz, Jamestown S’Klallum, Kalispel, Lummi, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, Shoalwater Bay, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Squaxin Island, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Swinomish, and Tulalip Tribes.

These compacts will go onto each Tribe’s Chair and Governor Inslee for their approvals. Once signed by both, each compact amendment will be forwarded to the Secretary of the Department of Interior for review and action. The Department of Interior has 45 days to act once they receive it or it is deemed approved and published in the federal register. Each sports wagering compact amendment must be entered into federal register before it is effective.

Each sports wagering compact amendment allows the Tribe and State the ability to effectively address the Legislature’s primary sports wagering policy concerns now codified in the Gambling Act: licensing, agency funding, regulation, criminal enforcement, money laundering, sport integrity, and responsible and problem gambling.

Additionally, the agency’s Commissioners reviewed and unanimously approved initial draft sports wagering rules. Those rules can be found in the agency’s public meeting packet (Tab 3) here. The agency’s Commissioners will hold a special public meeting on July 28, 2021 to review and approve final sports wagering rules. The agency’s goal is for the rules to be effective at the end of August in time for the beginning of the 2021 NFL season. Details for the special meeting can be found on the agency’s website closer to the meeting date.

Washington State was the first state in 2020 to enact a new sports wagering law. The Gambling Act (RCW 9.46) contains all sports wagering state laws, including additional money laundering and sport integrity provisions to protect gambling and sporting events occurring in the state and around the country.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 provides that Indian tribes may conduct Class III gaming activities on Indian lands when the gaming is conducted in conformance with a tribal-state compact. RCW 9.46.360 provides that the Gambling Commission negotiate those compacts on behalf of the state. There are twenty-nine federally recognized Tribes in Washington State. All twenty-nine Tribes have a Class III gaming compact with twenty-two Tribes operating twenty-nine gaming facilities in the state.

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