OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Gambling Commission has reached a tentative agreement with eleven additional Washington State federally recognized tribes. The Colville, Cowlitz, Jamestown S’Klallam, Lummi, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, Shoalwater Bay, Spokane, Squaxin Island, Stillaguamish, and Swinomish Tribes each have reached a tentative agreement to adopt the compact amendment language previously negotiated by the Suquamish Tribe. Prior to this announcement, the Gambling Commission had reached a sports wagering tentative agreement with the Tulalip, Suquamish, Kalispel, and Snoqualmie Tribes. There are now fifteen federally recognized tribes with a tentative sports wagering compact amendment to their Class III gaming compacts.
All tentative agreements will have a joint Senate and House Legislative hearing on May 19, 2021. Then, each tentative agreement will go before the Gambling Commission for a vote at the agency’s June 10, 2021 public meeting.
Each sports wagering compact amendment allows the tribe and 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 next steps in this process for these tentative agreements are:
- A Joint Legislative Hearing will be held by the Senate Labor, Commerce, and Tribal Affairs and House Commerce and Gaming Committees on May 19, 2021.
- The Gambling Commission will review and vote on this compact amendment at a June 10, 2021 public hearing. If approved by the agency’s Commissioners, the proposed compact amendment will be forwarded to the Tribal Chair and then the Governor for signature.
- Once signed by both the Tribal Chair and the Governor, the Tribe will send the amendment to the Secretary of the United States Department of Interior for consideration and publication in the Federal Register.
- 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. 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.