Tribal casinos approved for sports betting

Multiple tribal casinos were approved to do sports betting, but no Grays Harbor tribes were on the list.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved sports gambling compact amendments for Washington tribal casinos.

Among the approved tribes were the Puyallup, Tulalip, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Cowlitz, Squaxin, Suquamish, Stillaguamish and Lummi tribes.

While the Quinault Indian Nation, nor the Chehalis Tribes were on the list, the Squaxin Island Tribe was among the approvals. 

This would mean that the Little Creek Casino could expand their services in this first step towards sports betting in regional casinos.

 Applications by Muckleshoot, Swinomish, Skokomish, Kalispel, Jamestown S’Klallam, Shoalwater Bay and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation remain pending.

In June, the Washington State Gambling Commission approved amendments to gambling compacts for 15 Native American tribes within the state. 

Shoalwater Bay was the only local tribe on the list for consideration at that time.

During the request, Shoalwater Bay tribal chair Charlene Nelson said that the tribe needs money to continue moving tribal members off flood-prone areas to higher ground.

The Washington Indian Gaming Association said that Interior Department approval is the final regulatory step in the approval of revised gaming compacts – with seven other tribal compacts expected to receive Interior Department approval in the coming days.

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.