Washington may have become the latest state to legalize sports betting or it may have set itself up for a lawsuit challenging the law.
Editor Note, Aug. 5, 2021: Licensing rules are approved, making NFL betting possible this season, but wagering will be constrained to physical gambling halls, not mobile and online betting.
Editor Note: Progress is made and 2021 NFL season now looks like the start of legal sports betting in Washington State.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law March 25, 2020 making sports betting legal at tribal casinos in the state. But the fact lawmakers used an ‘emergency’ clause to make the law without the required referendum has opened the door to challenge. That challenge will likely come from card room operators in the state, who also would like to be able to offer sports betting.
Native groups were pleased as retail sports betting is destined only for tribal lands. And that will frustrate online sportsbook groups anxious to offer mobile registration and betting services to Washington residents. So a lot of work has been done, but there may be a lot of work yet to be done before Washington state sports betting legalization really succeeds.
Is sports betting legal in Washington State?
Yes. But Maverick Gaming, which owns nearly half of Washington’s cardrooms, had challenged the legislation and CEO Eric Persson has indicated he will file suit to stop its implementation. So while the law is passed and voters don’t have to decide via a November referendum, expect legal challenges.
Where can I bet at Washington State sportsbooks?
This would be offered at tribal casinos. There are more than 30 Indian casinos in the state, not all of whom have inked deals to participate in this important market.
What about mobile sports betting apps in Washington State?
None is available now and none is envisioned as the approved wording limits Washington sports betting to physical locations on tribal lands.