WIGA Considers Sports Betting Approval As A Major Milestone

The Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA) has commented on the sports betting approval of 15 Native American tribes.

The Washington State Gambling Commission has approved the amendment to gambling compacts which allows several tribes to offer sports betting services in their casinos. The amendment was supposedly approved on Thursday.

Commissioners also agreed anonymously that all tribes must also approve the amendments and it should be sent to Governor Jay Inslee before heading forward to the Federal Government.

Rebecca George, WIGA Executive Director, said that all the tribes were applauding the Gambling Commission’s approval and this is one of the major milestones in the extensive regulatory system that will now allow sports betting to be offered soon at many tribal casinos.

She continues, “The culmination of a bipartisan supermajority vote in the 2020 legislative session in Olympia that authorized sports betting but limited it to tribal casinos, the Commission’s action is a big win, not just for tribal communities but for all Washington State residents.”

George also pointed out that the revenue generated by tribal gaming brings to the Washington state economy. In 2017, the Indian economy in Washington generated more than $5.3 billion in gross state product.
This led to the estimated gross gaming revenue of the state and the local government to be $722 million and $352 million as a one-time capital expenditure.

The tribal government has supported producing more than 37,000 jobs in which more than 70% of these jobs were owned by non-tribal members.

George claims that introducing sports betting in the state will enhance its economy. She says, “The Commission’s vote highlights the strong and collaborative partnership between tribes and the state that has emerged over the last three decades, as our limited and carefully regulated system of gaming has taken shape.”

“By fitting sports betting into the existing and proven tribal gaming system, the state has ensured sports betting revenues will stay in Washington and will go towards uplifting historically marginalized communities, while creating local jobs, boosting the state economy, and funding critical services for those in need.”