Washington Tribe Concludes Sports Betting Compact

Washington’s Tulalip Tribes and the state have completed negotiations for the tribe to offer sports betting at its Tulalip Resort and Quil Ceda Creek casinos. The pact could be a template for other gaming tribes in the state.

The Tulalip Tribes recently reached an agreement with the Washington State Gambling Commission for a sports gaming amendment to the tribal state gaming compact.

They hope to begin offering sports betting in time for the fall NFL season. The tribe will offer online sports betting, but only within the confines of its brick and mortar casino.

The tribe operates two casinos, the Tulalip Resort and Quil Ceda Creek casinos, including one next to a hotel and events center, where it will also probably be able to offer online sports betting.

The commission’s legal and legislative manager Brian Considine told CDC Gaming Reports, “This is the first time where we’ve really ever talked about any form of online gambling.” He continued, “And so there’s a lot that can go into that. What is it going to look like? Is the mobile piece just going to be on site, or can it be on the premises property and how is that going to be defined?”

More than 80 percent of the profits made from sports betting since the Supreme Court lifted the ban in 2018 has been through online sportsbooks, according to the American Gaming Association. That percentage is 92 percent in New Jersey, which currently has the most successful sportsbooks in the U.S.

The tribes’ next step will be to submit a proposed geofencing map for mobile online gaming to set up a wagering perimeter. Mobile apps will only be allowed to operate within the map’s boundaries. This would allow outside wagering, for example at an outdoor event or in a parking lot.

Some, like Auburn City Councilmember Chris Stearns, a former member of the gambling commission, hopes and expects that eventually online sports wagers will be accepted all over the state. He said, “The public’s view of gambling has changed a lot in the past 48 years,” adding, “And there will likely be more and more demand for easier access to sports betting by the citizens of Washington.”

The Tulalip compact amendment is only the first of many. Other tribes, out of a total of 22 federally recognized tribes, that are also in negotiations include the Muckleshoot, Snoqualmie, Kalispel and Suquamish tribes.

The Tulalip deal is expected to serve as a template for at least some of those tribes. Deals could come thick and fast as most want to achieve that fall NFL season goal. Practically speaking that would mandate reaching agreements by mid-May.

Tulalip Tribes chairwoman Teri Gobin released this statement after the agreement was reached: “The revenue sports wagering provides — like all tribal gaming revenue — stays in Washington, creating jobs and increasing charitable contributions that benefit communities throughout the state.”