Shoalwater Bay added to tribal casinos allowed to do sports betting

The Shoalwater Bay Tribe received approval to begin sports betting.

The Federal Register posted the approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs that approves the Shoalwater, Muckleshoot and Confederated Tribes of Colville proposals.

They join the Puyallup, Tulalip, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Cowlitz, Squaxin, Suquamish, Stillaguamish and Lummi tribes who had been approved earlier this month.

Rebecca George, Executive Director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA) issued a statement following the approval.

“The strong partnership that tribal governments in Washington State have built up over the last three decades with the state of Washington and the federal government was further affirmed today, with the Interior Department approving three more tribal compacts, covering the Colville, Shoalwater Bay and Muckleshoot Tribes, allowing those tribes to move forward with sports betting. Those three tribes join the nine others that received Interior Department approval last week. Four more tribal sports betting compacts are pending approval. 

The WIGA says that the Snoqualmie Tribe launched their sports betting operation last week, and the other 15 Washington State tribes will begin offering sports betting in upcoming weeks. 

Sports betting at tribal casinos became an option after a 2018 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a 1992 federal law that banned commercial sports betting in most states. Following that decision, the Washington Legislature last year passed House Bill 2638 to allow sports gambling at tribal casinos.

The bill passed by the Legislature would allow gambling on major league professional sports, the Olympic Games and other international events. There would also be betting on college sports, with the exception of no betting on games involving in-state schools. There will be no online or mobile gaming options outside the walls of tribal casinos.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 provides that Indian tribes may conduct Class III gaming activities on Indian lands when the gaming is conducted in conformance with a tribal-state compact. RCW 9.46.360 provides that the Gambling Commission negotiate those compacts on behalf of the state.

There are twenty-nine federally recognized Tribes in Washington State. All twenty-nine Tribes have a Class III gaming compact with twenty-two Tribes operating twenty-nine gaming facilities in the state. Currently, the Gambling Commission has negotiated sports wagering compact amendments with sixteen Tribes.