Kalispel Casino

  • The Kalispel Tribe of Indians has been tentatively approved as the third tribe to be able to offer sports betting in Washington.
  • Washington wants to go live with their sports wagering market by the start of the 2021 NFL season.
  • There are at least ten more tribes in Washington seeking to renegotiate their compacts to include sports betting.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC) has given their approval to the terms of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians on Tuesday and their new Tribal Gaming Compact that now includes sports betting. The Kalispel Tribe is the third tribe in the state to have received conditional agreements for sportsbooks, behind the Suquamish and Tulalip Tribes. It’s being said that at least ten other tribes in the state are currently undergoing the process of renegotiating their compacts to expand into sports wagering at their facilities statewide.

Washington regulated sports betting in March of 2020. The industry is a tribal-centric one but more than a year later, it has not yet launched to the public. This is due to the arduous tasks involved with expanding Tribal Gaming Compacts because they need to be agreed upon by the tribe’s government and the state’s government. This requires a lot of time and compromise, especially when Washington is home to 25 federally recognized tribes that are able to open sportsbooks should they wish to do so.

“Sports betting, like all tribal gaming, is carefully regulated through compacts negotiated by each tribe with the Washington State Gambling Commission,” said Rebecca George, Executive Director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA).

Moving Forward

More tribes in Washington will be joining the regulated sports gaming industry periodically throughout the year. It is the hope of the WSGC that the industry in the state is ready to launch by the beginning of the NFL season. They are slowly but surely knocking out each tribe that wants a sports wagering expansion with Kalispel being their latest triumph.

“This new compact will create jobs, add to the local economy, and fund important services for the community, and will build on our established, safe, and successful system of tribal gaming in Washington State,” said George. “We expect additional compacts to be announced soon, and by this fall we anticipate sports wagering will be available at tribal casinos across the state.”

No mobile sportsbooks are being discussed at this time. Washington would much rather get its sports betting industry off of the ground by the Fall instead of adding further delays. As it is, every tribe that receives provisional approval will need to go through a few more channels before a launch can occur by NFL season.

The WSGC needs to hold a final vote on all approved compacts in June 2021, where the agreements will then move to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior for the green light to go live. Once these new documents are final, they will be published in the Federal Register and Washington will be able to launch their sportsbooks. It’s a tight timeline but the state is working as fast as possible to get it done.

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