First Washington Sportsbook to Open in Time for Beginning of New NFL Season

  • The Snoqualmie Casino will open its sportsbook Thursday morning, with six betting kiosks
  • The tribe was able to meet the “stringent” vendor licensing measures necessary for launch
  • Eight other tribes have received DOI approval and could launch over the next few months
  • Arizona and South Dakota will also launch sports betting on the first day of the NFL season
Snoqualmie Welcomes You sign
Washington State’s Snoqualmie Casino has announced it will launch the market’s first sportsbook on the same day as the beginning of the NFL season. [Image:]

Just in time for kickoff

Residents in the state of Washington have had to wait a long time for the introduction of sports wagering. Governor Jay Inslee authorized the vertical in March 2020, paving the way for tribal gaming operators to open retail and on-site mobile sportsbooks. Now, the first of those sportsbooks is finally going to launch – and just in time for the beginning of the new NFL season.

The Snoqualmie Casino has announced it will open its sportsbook on Thursday morning, taking to Twitter on Wednesday to confirm the news:

The offering will feature four staffed stations where bettors can place their wagers, in addition to six kiosks throughout the casino floor. The tribe will add a mobile offering next month, utilizing geofencing technology to ensure gamblers place their wagers on the property.

Snoqualmie Casino CEO and president Stanford Le commented on the timing of the launch. “The timing was just right, the fervor for football season,” he told The Seattle Times. “This is making history. So having a natural time frame, the kickoff of the NFL season and the kickoff of our sportsbook and being the first in Washington all just made a lot of sense.”

The first of many

So far, Washington Governor Jay Inslee has authorized 16 tribes for sports betting. Of those, only nine have received approval from the US Department of the Interior (DOI).The federal body listed the Snoqualmie, Puyallup, Tulalip, Spokane, Cowlitz, Squaxin, Suquamish, Stillaguamish, and Lummi among its approved tribes last week.

we were on the phone with vendors walking them through the licensing process”

Although those eight tribes are now preparing for sports betting launches, only the Snoqualmie has met the requirements necessary to go live before the NFL season. As reported by The Seattle Times, Le said the tribe had to work hard to meet the “stringent” measures associated with licensing suppliers. “In some cases we were on the phone with vendors walking them through the licensing process to make sure they hit those deadlines,” he explained.

Washington Indian Gaming Association executive director Rebecca George has said she expects other tribal casinos to begin offering wagering “in the next few months.” She made clear, however, that this depends on how quickly they can implement the necessary measures. 

Meanwhile, seven tribes authorized by Gov. Inslee still require federal approval for their updated gaming compacts. This includes the Muckleshoot, Swinomish, Skokomish, Kalispel, Jamestown S’Klallam, Shoalwater Bay, and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Other states set to launch

Washington is not the only state planning to launch its sports betting market on the first day of the new NFL season. Arizona and South Dakota sports fans will also be able to wager for the first time on Thursday. 

a FanDuel sportsbook in the downtown Phoenix area

In Arizona, online sportsbooks and two retail locations will begin taking wagers starting Thursday morning. This includes a FanDuel sportsbook in the downtown Phoenix area and temporary Caesars Sportsbook betting windows at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field. On Tuesday, a judge refused to issue an injunction request by the Yavapi-Prescott Indian Tribe, making the launch possible.

Similarly, casinos in the town of Deadwood, South Dakota will also begin taking sports bets on Thursday. In preparation for the launch, sportsbook operator BetMGM partnered with Liv Hospitality’s Thin Lizzie Gaming Resort and Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort.

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