It has already been a big year for the US sports betting industry in 2021, and the state of Washington looks to join the party later this Fall. This state has moved slowly to get sports betting up and running, but now it appears that a full-out sprint is coming.
Sports betting has been legal in Washington since 2020 as it became the first state to legalize the industry last year. Washington was unable to get the industry up and running because new gaming compacts were needed with Native American tribes.
Last week the Washington State Gaming Commission approved new gaming compacts with 15 Native American tribes, and they have been sent to Governor Jay Inslee. He has worked with the tribes in the past, and he is expected to sign off on each of the new agreements.
Washington already has a strong gaming industry as there are nearly 30 casinos operated by 22 different tribes. Not all of those tribes will be a part of sports betting at first, but they could end up agreeing to new compacts as well.
A Look at the Industry
Sports betting in Washington will be offered in retail form only, and that will hurt the potential growth of the market. The state is home to more than 7.6 million people, and this is a state that has plenty of teams to bet on.
College sporting events featuring in-state teams will not be offered by the sportsbooks, but professional, international, and Olympic events will. The Washington State Gaming Commission also approved esports betting, and that is a growing industry.
There will be three different types of sports betting licenses available, and each one will dictate what forms of betting are available.
Fast Tracking the Launch
Now that the pieces are in place for sports betting, the gaming commission is going to be working overtime to come up with the final rules to guide the industry. The goal is to launch by the start of the 2021 NFL season, and a target date in August has been set.
The first set of rules will be revealed on July 7, and then the public comment will be accepted and heard by the commission. There is a chance that the final set of rules could be approved on July 28 if everything goes according to plan.
Tax rate and licensing fees will be made official at the same time the rules are posted.
Federal Approval A Big Step
After Governor Inslee signs off on the new compacts, they will be sent to the US Department of Interior for review. This is the process that is in place for every state in the US, and that department has been busy in 2021.
A decision will be granted within 45 days, but recent history has shown that it could come much sooner than that. There could be some minor changes made to some of the compacts, but the US Department of Interior is expected to give the approval.