Here’s a guide to Washington sports betting focusing largely on how it was legalized in March of 2020.
History Behind Proposed Bill for Washington Sports Betting
Sports betting was illegal in the United States from 1992 until 2018 because of the professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. PASPA outlawed sports betting throughout the majority of the country except for a few states like Nevada. PASPA was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision in 2018. This decision left the legality of sports betting up to the individual states.
Many state legislatures were very receptive to the idea of sports betting because of the increased financial revenue that it would bring to an economy. Despite this, east coast states have been much more open to the idea of sports betting. Only two states have legalized sports betting on the west coast. These two states are Oregon and Washington.
Washington legalized sports betting on March 25, 2020. Washington was slow to legalize for many reasons. The legislature in the state wanted to make sure they were implementing sports betting in a proper manner. There was a strong amount of cohesiveness between the right and the left in the state government on the enactment of sports betting. This made the legislative process very civil.
Sports betting isn’t available in the state of Washington just yet, but it will eventually be live in the state. The economic impact of COVID-19 and contract negotiations have delayed the launch date for sports betting in Washington. However, Washington will feature a tribal-only sports betting system when the form of gambling becomes available for people within the state.
What Sports Betting Bill in Washington Says
Sports betting in Washington became official on March 25, 2020 when state governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into action. The name of the document was House Bill 2638 and it amended several criminal and licensing felonies in the Gambling Act. Additionally, the bill authorized sports wagering to tribal-state gaming compacts.
This bill didn’t set any standards for the agreement between the tribal casinos and the state, but it gave these casinos the opportunity to offer sports betting in the future. The bill was minimalistic in many areas; therefore a big negotiation process begun following the passage of the bill. Negotiations between the state legislature and tribal leaders haven’t made much progress since the bill went into action.
The bill does allow online wagering, which could be a big selling point for Washington tribes who are offering sports betting at their casinos. However, the bill imposes some strict restrictions on mobile gambling. This isn’t surprising because sports betting is only available for tribal casinos.
According to state law, a mobile sportsbook in Washington will only be allowed to accept bets on tribal land. When a person is off of tribal land, they will not be able to place a bet on a mobile book. Therefore, it may not be worth some tribes investing in a mobile app with a retail sportsbook due to the strict laws in the state of Washington.
Expectations of Sports Betting in Washington
In Washington state, there are 29 federally recognized tribes. This has created quite the casino gambling economy in Washington. All 29 of these tribes have Class III gaming compacts, but only 22 tribes operate casinos in the state. There are a total of 29 tribal casinos in the state, so this has given the state high hopes of turning Washington into a sports betting hotbed. However, not all sportsbooks will end up applying for a sports betting license.
Retail sportsbooks will probably have a huge presence in the tribal casinos. No retail sportsbooks will be able to open until all agreements have been made between the state and tribal casino leaders.
There could be mobile books available on tribal property as well. I doubt that tribal casinos will operate with both platforms at first due to initial expenses. The last thing that casinos want to do is lose money on sports betting, so the implementation process is expected to be slow once agreements are made official.
It’s still too early to determine a complete framework for sports betting in the state. Tribal compact negotiations take a lot of time, and the COVID pandemic hasn’t helped the cause. Tribes are trying to regulate their traditional casino gambling, so sports betting has been pushed aside. The negotiation process has been frustrating for both parties, but the goal is for sports betting to launch sometime in 2021.
Initial projections have estimated that Washington could generate around $40 million in yearly revenue from sports betting within the state. This figure has the state and tribes eager to get gambling underway.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Washington
Washington law states that it’s illegal to bet on college sports teams within the state. This excludes major Division I programs such as the Washington Huskies or the Washington State Cougars. However, Washington is home to many professional sports franchises in a variety of leagues.
The major professional teams that call Washington home are the Seattle Mariners (MLB), Seattle Seahawks (NFL), and the Seattle Kraken (NHL). There are a few other professional sports teams outside of the four major leagues, including the Seattle Sounders FC (MLS), the Seattle Storm (WNBA), the OL Reign (National Women’s Soccer League).
The Seattle Mariners are in Major League Baseball’s American League West Division. The team plays at T-Mobile Park in the heart of Seattle. The Mariners were founded in 1977 and they’re managed by Scott Servais.
The Seattle Seahawks have been the most successful franchise in Seattle over the years. The Seahawks are coached by Pete Carroll. The team has won multiple division and conference titles as well as one Super Bowl in 2013.
The Seattle Kraken will be a new NHL franchise in the 2020-21 season. They will play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. Fans are very excited throughout the state for an NHL expansion franchise to come to Washington.
All these teams will provide bettors with plenty of excitement throughout the year once sportsbooks launch in the state.
FAQ for Betting in Washington?
Is sports betting legal in Washington?
Yes, sports betting was legalized in the state on March 25, 2020. However, no retail or mobile sportsbooks have been launched in the state just yet.
When is the anticipated launch dates for sportsbooks in the state?
There hasn’t been a set launch date for sportsbooks in the state. The goal for the state is to have sportsbooks go live at some point in 2021. The compact arbitration process has been a long process that isn’t close to being finished, so only time will tell when it comes to a set launch date.
Will there be a mobile sportsbook in Washington?
Washington law states that mobile sportsbooks are allowed in the state. Despite this, mobile betting will only be allowed on casino grounds that have a legal sports betting license.
What is the legal betting age in Washington?
When sports betting becomes available, the legal age to place a bet will be 18 years of age. This is the current casino gambling age in Washington.
Will you be allowed to bet on college sports in Washington state?
It will be legal to bet on college sports at Washington sportsbooks. However, you’ll be unable to place a wager on colleges that are located in the state.