Washington sports betting is now officially legal.

  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed WA HB 2638, legalizing sports betting in the state.
  • Sportsbooks are only allowed to open in tribal casinos in Washington.
  • It could take months for Washington sports betting venues to open due to the coronavirus.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed WA HB 2638 on Wednesday which authorizes sportsbooks to open in the state’s tribal casinos. But, it will likely take months for Washington sports betting to officially launch.

Since the start of the state’s legislative session, legalizing sports betting has been a topic of discussion. After much debate, lawmakers decided that allowing tribes control of sportsbooks is the best option.

Now with the bill signed into law, Washington sports betting is now legal.

The Layout Of Washington Sports Betting

WA HB 2638 is the bill that brings sports betting to the state of Washington. All tribal businesses will have the ability to open their very own sportsbook. Bettors in the state will have the ability to wager on professional and college games.

Due to the nature of the bill, there are some restrictions that are put into place. As the new law indicates, Washington sports betting can only happen in retail tribal locations. That means the tribes do not have the option to offer online or mobile betting. That restricts sports betting to those who want to travel to tribal grounds.

But it is possible that mobile sports betting can be added in the future. The law could be amended to allow other entities to operate sportsbooks. However, companies like Maverick Gaming promised to fight against WA HB 2638.

“The issue of sports betting is not just about commercial gaming and the sovereign rights of Tribal governments, for which I have deep respect,” said Eric Persson, Maverick CEO. “It is about how to create economic opportunities for all Washingtonians in Tribal and non-Tribal communities alike.”

Now that the bill has passed and legalized, it is possible that Maverick will file a lawsuit to prevent the law from going to effect.

If left alone, setting up sports betting in Washington could take a while. Normally, it would take a few months for a state to get up and running. But due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, that could further extend the set-up time needed. The tribes say that they need sports betting now more than ever.

“It feels timely that everything we’ve been saying is funded by our [tribal] government gaming is now in jeopardy,” said Rebecca Kaldor, executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, a nonprofit group that promotes tribal gaming. “And so, the silver lining is that this will be an added amenity tribes can use to get our communities back up and running in a healthy way.”

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