WIGA describes sports betting approval as a "major milestone"

By Gambling Insider

The Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA) has responded to the approval of sports betting for 15 Native American tribes.

On Thursday, The Washington State Gambling Commission approved amendments to gambling compacts which allow several tribes to offer sports betting at their casinos.

Commissioners agreed unanimously, while all tribes must also approve the amendments and it will be sent to Governor Jay Inslee, before heading to the Federal Government.

WIGA Executive Director, Rebecca George, said the tribes were all “applauding” the Gambling Commission’s unanimous approval and that this is a “major milestone in the extensive regulatory process that will allow sports betting to be offered at tribal casinos soon.”

She added: “The culmination of a bipartisan supermajority vote in the 2020 legislative session in Olympia that authorised 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 the revenue tribal gaming brings to the Washington State economy; in 2017 the Indian economy in Washington yielded more than $5.3bn in gross state product.

This led to an estimated $722m in state and local government revenue and an additional $352m in one-time capital expenditures.

Tribal governments support more than 37,000 jobs, with 70% of these jobs being held by non-tribal members.

George says introducing sports betting will add to these economic benefits. She concluded: “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 marginalised communities, while creating local jobs, boosting the state economy and funding critical services for those in need.”

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