Washington Takes First Step Toward Sportsbook Licensing

Washington state is taking the first steps to creating a system for taking applications to operate sports betting at the state’s Indian casinos. Currently only tribal casinos may offer sportsbooks.

The Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC) last week unveiled “pre-licensing qualification rules,” for sports betting applications. The commission vote to adopt the rules was unanimous.

The rules spell out what materials that applicants will need to have before they begin the application process. Currently the commission is confined to collecting information from interested parties. It is not yet approving operators.

WSGC Director Dave Trujillo commented, “This rule is not the end-all, be-all for sports wagering. “But it starts the process.”

More than a year ago the legislature legalized sports betting for the state’s tribal casinos only. Currently five of the 29 federally-recognized tribes are negotiating new tribal state gaming compacts. Twenty-two tribes operate 29 casinos in the state.

The rules were adopted after hearing comments from several possible operators, including DraftKings, FanDuel and William Hill, plus several gaming tribes.