Sports betting becomes legal at Washington tribal casinos ahead of NFL season

The Snoqualmie Casino will be taking some of the first-ever sports bets in our state before the NFL's first game of the season on Sept. 9.

The U.S. Department of the Interior last week approved sports gambling for the Puyallup, Tulalip, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Cowlitz, Squaxin, Suquamish, Stillaguamish and Lummi tribes, while applications by Muckleshoot, Swinomish, Skokomish, Kalispel, Jamestown S’Klallam, Shoalwater Bay and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation remain pending.

The Washington State Gambling Commission in late July gave final approval to sports gambling proposals outlined by tribes, hoping to have everything in place by the Sept. 9 NFL season opener. You cannot bet on college sports or horse races.

Native American tribes see the NFL season is a prime source of sports gambling revenue at a time their communities — badly hit by COVID-19 shortfalls — need additional money to provide various health, education and other social services.

Momentum has surged to legalize sports gambling nationwide since May 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning such betting everywhere but Las Vegas and a handful of other places.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed this into law in March of 2020, allowing sports betting at tribal casinos only.

Individual states can now chart their own course, and more than two dozen, Washington now among them, have authorized some form of sports wagering.

Snoqualmie Casino and the state gambling commission have agreed to an initial list of wagers the tribe will offer in the sportsbook.

Commission Chair Bud Sizemore said it will "offer casinos customers a wide array of gaming opportunities on sporting events from around the world."

The Emerald Queen Casino is also opening its sportsbook but won't be taking bets until next month.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.