First-ever legal sports wagering coming soon to a tribal casino near you

By the time the NFL officially kicks off this season on Thursday night, if you’re willing to bet on the outcome, you’ll be able to do it legally for the first time in the history of Washington state. A series of new laws and tribal compacts will soon allow you to place your bets at several places.

The staff at Snoqualmie Casino has been scrambling to become the first of 16 legal sportsbooks in the state to open in tribal casinos across our state, where you’ll soon be able to lay a legal wager on the Seahawks, the Mariners or almost any other sport you imagine.

“You can bet on sailing!” said Stanford Le, CEO and president of Snoqualmie Casino. “I’m sure curling is in there. Anything that you’d be able to bet on in the Las Vegas casinos, you can expect to see here in Washington.”

Until now, you were breaking the law if you bet on sports in Washington state. Over the last several years, lawmakers in Olympia slowly opened the concept of legalized sports betting on select tribal lands.

“To be able to make it come to life is amazing,” Le said.

In our area, the Muckleshoot Casino,Tulalip Casino, and the Emerald Queen are all working on opening sportsbooks within weeks. According to the Washington State Gambling Commission, the following will have legal sportsbooks coming soon:

▪ The Tulalip Tribes’ Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip.

▪ The Puyallup Tribe of Indians’ Emerald Queen Hotel & Casino in Tacoma and/or Fife.

▪ The Suquamish Tribe’s Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort in Suquamish.

▪ The Stillaguamish Tribe’s Angel of the Winds Casino in Arlington.

▪ The Squaxin Island Tribe’s Little Creek Casino and Resort in Shelton.

▪ The Spokane Tribe’s Spokane Tribe Casino in Airway Heights and/or Chewelah Casino in Chewelah.

▪ The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe’s Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie.

▪ The Cowlitz Tribe’s Ilani Casino Resort in Ridgefield.

▪ Lummi Nation’s Silver Reef Casino in Ferndale.

At the Snoqualmie Casino, adults will be able to place a bet in person at one of four windows or at six computerized kiosks inside the casinos, and there will be a lot more action than just betting whether your team wins or loses. Just like in Vegas, there are also proposition bets.

“Will your favorite home team get a first down on its next possession?” asked Le. “Will the next score be a touchdown pass or a touchdown run? Versus a field goal? Those are the types of proposition bets that will be available.”

Each individual tribal casino will eventually have its own gaming app where you can place a bet on a game on your phone, but it’s a little more nuanced than just downloading the app. First, you must set up an account with ID at each casino, and the apps won’t work everywhere. Every casino by law has to use geofencing technology, so bets must be placed in or near the casinos.

“You can actually preselect your bets very much like people select their fantasy football team,” said Le. “But then when they get to the casino property, that’s when the bets will actually be able to be submitted.”

The tribes of Washington state are also the state’s seventh-largest employer, and supporters of sports gaming rights said the sportsbooks will lead to more jobs, build revenues supporting tribal social programs and even pay for environmental work.

But there are some limitations. You can’t legally bet if you’re employed by a professional sports team — and there are no bets allowed on any college team from Washington state.

“However, you can bet on college games from other states,” Le said.

As for how crowded the sportsbooks will be when they first open to the novelty of legal sports gambling? All bets are off.