Washington State approves sports gambling at tribal casinos
Washington is moving forward to allow legal sports gambling once sports leagues start back up
Washington State has approved sports betting in the state, but it will be offered only at tribal casinos with no mobile or online gambling in the plans. On Wednesday, HB 2638 bill was finally signed by Governor Jay Inslee after being approved by the state senate this same month. The Evergreen State has 29 tribes recognized federally; they all can offer sports betting once the individual compacts are negotiated with the government.
This news should have caused more cheerful reactions if it wasn’t for the fact that all gambling locations within the state are currently closed to avoid the coronavirus from spreading any further. Even if they were open for business, the options to put money on are not the most appealing as all major sports leagues and other important leagues around the world shut down for the same reason.
It is not surprising that Washington didn’t allow mobile or online betting. Currently, under state law, it is illegal to engage in any online gambling activity as it is considered a Class C felony. There is some form of online gambling discussed in the bill, but it is very restricted and almost not worth it. There can be mobile betting but only inside of one of the tribal casino facilities. Included in this bill, there was a clause that tackled directly the requirement of having a referendum to decide on legal sports betting. If that would have been the case, then a 60% majority was needed for approval. According to the clause, the bill is “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions.”