Oct 19, 2019; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars helmet sits during football game against the Colorado Buffaloes in the first at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Washington approves sports betting licensing rules

The state of Washington moved closer to bringing sports betting to state residents late last week after the Washington Gambling Commission approved sports betting licensing rules.

But before sports bettors in the state start cheering too loudly, online and mobile wagering is not considered in the current rules, which face a final hurdle later in August. This news had been reported earlier under threat of lawsuits.

Washington approves sports betting but….

Now that the rules have been approved, they will go into effect on August 30. Under the rules, sports betting will be allowed in the state, but only in-person at licensed tribal facilities. Online betting may also be allowed, but also only within licensed tribal facilities.

As long as the next steps in the legalization process continue unhindered sports betting licenses could be issued and the industry could potentially go live in the state as early as September 1.

Under the newly approved licensing rules the state will offer three different types of licenses based on the vendor’s size. The maximum a vendor could pay for a license is $65,000.

There is still one major deadline that could hinder the launch of sports betting on the state. After the state began negotiating a new sports betting compact with 15 of the state’s 29 native tribes an agreement was reached on July 12. That newly signed compact must go to the federal Department of the Interior for approval. The feds have 45 days to approve or potentially not approve the new compact. This 45-day deadline comes up on August 26.

The remaining 14 tribes that did not sign on the original compact can also continue to negotiate their own deals to get a piece of the sports betting pie. There are 29 gambling facilities in Washington run by 22 different tribes.

The state expects the legalization of sport betting to provide a boost to state tax revenues, but the potential size of this revenue will be stifled by the lack of state-wide mobile betting.

Other states with in-person registration rules (Illinois) and others without mobile components have not enjoyed the same uptake and participation as states that embraced online betting partners.