Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Washington to Offer Sports Betting
Northern Quest Resort and Casino has announced that a tentative agreement to add wagering on sports has been reached with the Washington State Gaming Commission, but before the venue operated by the Kalispel Tribe can begin taking bets, a number of steps need to be taken. The first is that their compact with the state must be renegotiated to allow sports betting.
Northern Quest intends to have wagering on all major sports and bettors will be able to place bets with a cashier, on mobile devices, and at kiosks beginning in September, around the start of football season. Wagering on games involving college teams located in the state of Washington is prohibited by the legislation, a common restriction found in other states that have approved sports betting.
Washington Sports Betting Legislation
In March of 2020, Washington became the 21st state to legalize sports betting since the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, which had restricted legalized wagering on sports to the state of Nevada. In Washington, gambling is restricted to tribal casinos and sports betting is no different, with even online wagering restricted to locations physically located within approved casinos.
There are 30 casinos in the state of Washington that are operated by 24 local tribes and each one, in addition to renegotiating their compacts, will also need to make the necessary infrastructure changes to accommodate a retail sportsbook on their property. Northern Quest is in the process of doing that by renovating its Turf Club Lounge to include a viewing area for sporting events.
So far, at least 13 tribes have expressed interest in providing sports betting, with the Tulalip tribe becoming the first to finalize an agreement in April. Even though the tribes are making plans to open sportsbooks, the state has yet to finalize the 35 pages of regulations, limits, and integrity controls that will dictate the details of wagering on sports will be implemented.
Next Steps for Washington Sports Betting
After the state legislature finalizes the regulations, they will still have to be signed by the governor and the tribal chair, then forwarded to the United States Interior Department for review and approval. While all parties share the desire to get sportsbooks operating in time for football season, the timing of the bureaucratic processes will ultimately dictate how soon the tribal casinos will be able to begin accepting wagers.
The passage and implementation process for sports betting in Washington hasn’t proceeded without some issues, particularly concerning a challenge by Maverick Gaming, which operates 19 cardrooms in the state. They were pushing for separate bills that would also allow Maverick to offer sports betting, but the legislation never made it out of committee in the legislature.
Without further consideration of that particular legislation, sports betting will remain within the exclusive purview and eliminate the expansion of gambling beyond the tribal casinos in the state. Florida, where gambling is also restricted to tribal casinos, is currently in the process of finalizing its own legislation and agreements.
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