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Washington Betting

Editor’s note: As of Jan. 20, 2021

A narrow definition of sports betting was actually approved in Washington in 1973. As passed, the Gambling Act allowed 100-square sports pools as the only acceptable form of sports betting.

Businesses and individuals can charge up to $1 per square, usually numbers randomly assigned and representing the final score for a single game, such as the Super Bowl.

NCAA brackets, office sports pools, and fantasy sports are not OK.

But with the overturning of the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act that allows sports betting to be approved state-by-state, Washington has made baby steps to expand sports wagering little success.

At least one state legislator thinks betting in The Evergreen State is years away.

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This year, three bills to allow wagering on professional and college sports, the Olympics and international sports, such as soccer haven’t gained traction. 

HB 1975, the bill that garnered the most attention in 2019, would have legalized Vegas-styled sportsbooks at tribal gaming facilities. Sports bars and restaurants, fearful they’d be cut from the action, lobbied against the measure. It never reached the House floor.

In retrospect, Washington state officials decided to move much more slowly and although being one of only two states to legalize sports betting via legislature in 2020, it provided a very narrow definition of where you can bet. Tribal casinos are able to offer in-person betting and mobile - as long as they are geofenced to the land only.

Is sports betting currently legal in the state?

Yes but only on tribal land.

What about horse racing?

Horse racing is legal to place wagers on via only approved vendors such as TVG and Twinspires.

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