In March 2020, Governor Inslee signed into law House Bill 2638, legalizing in-person sports betting at tribal casinos. Since then, more than a dozen tribes in Washington have begun offering sports wagering on casino premises – a welcome opportunity for casino patrons and an important step forward in the ongoing efforts of tribes to strengthen their self-reliance.
What Gaming Means to Tribal Communities
Tribal governments in Washington rely on gaming revenue for essential government services allowing for self-sufficiency. Unlike commercial gaming, tribal government gaming pays for critical housing, healthcare, education, natural resources and jobs for our communities.
Tribal Gaming Benefits All of Washington
Tribal facilities also benefit the surrounding non-tribal community, as they are major employers and purchasers of goods and services. Unlike out-of-state commercial operators, the tax monies and revenue generated from tribal casinos stay in Washington.
Threats to Tribal Sovereignty
Throughout the process of legalizing sports betting in Washington’s tribal casinos, a private commercial gaming operator has been backing legislative proposals to expand sports gambling to non-tribal card rooms accross the state. These proposals attempt to undermine the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which over the last three decades has been a pathway for tribes to regain their self-reliance by generating revenue to lift tribal communities out of poverty.
Regulating Sports Betting Under a Proven System
It’s essential to consider the potential impacts sports betting could have on vulnerable populations. Tribes and the State know that getting the structure, rules and regulations right is essential to keeping sports betting and all gaming safe and reliable. Relying on Washington’s existing, proven and established gambling regulatory structure is the best way to make sports betting legal and safe.