Washington Gov. Inslee signs bill allowing sports betting in state’s tribal casinos

Washington Indian tribal casinos, now closed statewide and losing millions of dollars daily due to coronavirus fears, got a boost Wednesday when Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a bill authorizing sports betting within those venues.

However, it still could take months for any sports betting to actually occur, given the continued uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. And the state first must negotiate sports-gaming compacts with those among the 29 Washington tribes that wish to have sports betting within their casinos. But those discussions should begin once the immediate crisis subsides, now that the legislation rocketed through the House and Senate in bipartisan fashion.

Washington becomes the 21st state where some sports betting is either taking place or awaiting launch. Numerous other states have sports-gaming legislation in the works after the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018 struck down a federal law that had banned such gambling in all but a handful of places.

The Washington law does prohibit betting on sporting events involving Washington-based colleges and universities. (Seattle Times, AP)

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