Washington State to Open Sports Betting License Application Period

  • WSGC voted unanimously in favor of most of the proposed sports betting sector rules
  • It plans to open up the application period for sports betting licenses early next week
  • Washington lawmakers legalized sports betting for tribes back in March 2020
  • A number of notable sports betting operators have submitted pre-licensing applications
woman filling out an application form
Sports betting operators will be able to start applying for sports betting licenses in Washington State next week. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Making progress

The Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC) has confirmed that it plans to start accepting applications for sports betting licenses early next week. The WSGC had a special commission meeting on Wednesday to discuss the rules for the sports betting sector and disclosed some of the details of the meeting on Twitter:

The commission voted unanimously in favor of most of the proposed rules. It plans to file the final approved rules on Friday and start accepting applications shortly after. The rules will need to go through a 31-day waiting period before they go into effect on August 30.

Operators can file applications until then, but the commission will not be able to approve any applications until after August 30. In addition to getting approval for a license from the WSGC, the Tribal Gaming Agencies also have to give the operators the green light.

Getting sportsbooks up and running

Speaking about the upcoming launch of legal sports betting in the state was WSGC chairman Bud Sizemore. He said: “This ushers in a new era for regulated sports wagering in Washington State and Washington citizens will be able to access Tribal sportsbooks of the highest integrity in the near future.”

the rules for the sports betting sector should help ensure the integrity of local sports teams and leagues

Sizemore went on to state that the rules for the sports betting sector should help ensure the integrity of local sports teams and leagues, as well as fight back against the sports betting black market.

Lawmakers in Washington approved retail sports betting and on-site mobile betting at tribal facilities back in March 2020, making it the first state in 2020 to bring sports betting legislation into law. The WSGC has been accepting pre-licensing applications for a few months now with the hope that this will help it to quickly approve licenses once the full application period begins. The original aim was to have sportsbooks up and running in time for the start of the NFL season in September.

Many interested operators

A number of major sports betting operators have reportedly filled out pre-license applications. This includes companies like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, Rush Street Interactive, and Betfred. Each operator will need to partner with one of the state’s federally recognized tribes.

So far, 15 tribes have signed updated state gaming compacts. These compacts are currently in a review period by the US Department of the Interior. Sportsbooks will not be able to launch until the compacts receive this federal approval. After lawmakers in Arizona legalized sports betting earlier this year, it took the Department of the Interior about one month to approve the updated tribal gaming compacts. There are also other tribes in Washington that are still negotiating update compacts with the state.