Tentative Agreements on Sports Wagering Compact Amendments Reached with WA Gambling Commission and Kalispel Tribe of Indians; Snoqualmie Indian Tribe

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Gambling Commission has reached separate tentative agreements with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, to amend both of their respective Class III gaming compacts to add sports wagering. These are the third and fourth sports wagering tentative agreements, respectively, in the state, and these amendments establish the framework for sports wagering at each of the tribes’ Class III gaming facilities.

Referring to the Snoqualmie Tribe agreement, Washington State Gambling Commission Chair Bud Sizemore said, “This agreement ensures sports wagering will be conducted with the highest integrity while protecting the public by keeping gambling legal and honest. I appreciate the tribe and state’s cooperative and thoughtful approach on this agreement.”

“On behalf of the Snoqualmie Tribe, we would like to thank the state administrators and casino team members who contributed to the Washington sports wagering regulatory framework,” said Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert de los Angeles. “We look forward to providing this exciting new gaming offering to our loyal casino patrons, which will allow us to expand our tribal programs and community partnerships.”

These amendments allow both tribes and the state the ability to effectively address the legislature’s primary sports wagering policy concerns now codified in the Gambling Act: licensing, agency funding, regulation, criminal enforcement, money laundering, sport integrity, and responsible and problem gambling.

The Gambling Commission anticipates it will have draft rules to its Commissioners for their review at the agency’s upcoming June 10, 2021 public meeting. Details for that meeting can be found on the agency’s website.

The tentative agreements must now both, separately, go through a state and federal approval process. The next steps in this process for both tentative agreements are:

  1. Legislative Hearings will be held in the Senate Labor, Commerce, and Tribal Affairs and House Commerce and Gaming Committees.
  2. The Gambling Commission will view and vote on these compact amendments at a June 10, 2021 public hearing. If approved by the agency’s Commissioners, the proposed compact amendments will be forwarded to the respective Tribal Chair and then the Governor for signature.
  3. Once signed by both the respective Tribal Chair and the Governor, the respective tribe will send the amendment to the Secretary of the United States Department of Interior for consideration and publication in the Federal Register.
  4. The compact amendment is not final, and sports wagering cannot begin, until it is published in the Federal Register.

Washington State was the first state in 2020 to enact a new sports wagering law. The Gambling Act (RCW 9.46) contains all sports wagering state laws, including additional money laundering and sport integrity provisions to protect gambling and sporting events occurring in the state and around the country.

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. The Kalispel Tribe of Indians’ tribal-state compact for Class III gaming was originally signed in October 1998, and this is the fourth amendment. The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe’s tribal-state compact for Class III gaming was originally signed in February 15, 2002, and this is the fifth amendment.