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Gambling in Washington: Laws, Live Venues & Top Sites

In 2006, Washington gained infamy for making it a felony to play online casino games and poker.

Based on this, you’d think that the Evergreen State has one of the harshest gambling criminal codes known to man.

But Washington does offer a good deal of legal gaming options, including tribal casinos, horse racing, lotteries, charitable gaming, and social gaming.

Despite all of the legal forms of gambling in this state, you still need to be careful.

This is especially the case since Washington once prosecuted a man over a fantasy NASCAR site.

We’ll discuss this incident later along with key laws that you should be aware of.

But let’s first look at an overview of Washington’s gambling industry.

Washington’s biggest source of gaming revenue is the lottery, which generates over $700 million annually. After prizes and administrative costs are paid, approximately 25% of this amount ($175m) goes towards various state programs.

The Evergreen State also generates solid tax revenue off licensed cardrooms. The cardrooms earn over $250 million per year, with over $25 million of this going towards state taxes.

Washington’s tribal casinos collectively earn almost $2 billion per year. But they don’t have to pay taxes, meaning most of this money goes towards funding tribal needs and paying employees.

One interesting thing about Washington’s casinos is that they don’t have a set gambling age. 18 is the minimum age for tribal casinos, but gaming establishments can also set the standard at 21.

Those old enough to enjoy Washington’s casino gaming can look forward to a wealth of slot machines and table games. In fact, the entire state offers over 33,300 slots and 1,155 table games.

Auburn’s Muckleshoot Casino is the largest gaming establishment in Washington, offering over 3,100 slot machines and 75 table games. Ilani Casino is the second biggest with 2,500 slots and 20 table games.

Beyond these large tribal establishments, Washington’s gambling scene mainly consists of small bingo parlors, poker rooms, and mini casinos. The latter are limited to 15 tables, with potential games including baccarat, blackjack, Caribbean stud, Let It Ride, and Pai Gow poker.

Legal Status of Gambling in Washington

While lengthy, Washington’s criminal code offers clear language on what constitutes legal and illegal gambling.

The only problem is that Washington’s gambling laws seem to change on a regular basis. Because of this, you should contact a Washington-based attorney if you have any serious questions about the state’s constitution and/or what we discuss here.

RCW 9.46.0237 defines gambling with the following:

“… staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the person’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that the person or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.”

The majority of Washington’s gambling punishments are aimed at those who operate unlicensed forms of gaming, engage in bookmaking, or cheat in licensed gambling. Here are some of the violations:

  • Offering greyhound racing in any form is a class B felony (RCW 9.46.039).
  • Offering any form of gambling without a license is a class B felon (RCW 9.46.160).
  • Aiding and abetting illegal gambling operations is a class B felony (RCW 9A.20.021).
  • Cheating in any form of licensed gambling is a class C felony (RCW 9.46.1961).
  • “Professional gambling,” or rather operating and profiting from an illegal betting operation, is a class C felony (RCW 9.46.221).
  • Working for an illegal gambling operation is a gross misdemeanor (RCW 9.46.1962).
  • Using illegal gambling equipment is a felony violation (RCW 9.46.231).
  • It’s illegal to transmit or receive “gambling information by telephone, telegraph, radio, semaphore, the internet, a telecommunications transmission system, or similar means (RCW 9.46.240).”

Below you can see penalties for violating Washington’s gambling laws:

  • Misdemeanor – Up to 90 days in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
  • Gross Misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
  • Class C Felony – Up to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
  • Class B Felony – Up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

Based on all of the felonies and punishments, violating Washington’s gambling laws is a scary prospect.

But the state has enough legal gambling opportunities that you shouldn’t have a problem with this. These legal activities include: amusement games, bingo, card games, charity gambling, lotteries, pari-mutuel, punch boards, pull-tabs, and social gaming.

Below you can read what to expect from each of Washington’s legal gambling activities.

Casino (Tribal) Gambling

Tribal Casino Gambling

Washington has a large number of tribal casinos that are run by over 20 tribes.

Most of these casinos are found in the western part of the state, near the Seattle-Tacoma area. Another concentration of casinos is found in the eastern part of Washington, near Spokane.

Ilani became the first major tribal casino to open near the southern border. This $500 million complex was built to take advantage of the nearby Portland metropolitan area.

As mentioned before, most Washington casinos are small operations that only offer table games. Referred to as mini casinos, these establishments have select hours and are limited to 15 tables or less.

Thanks to all of its casinos, the Washington gaming industry brings in almost $2 billion. This number could increase greatly as Ilani Casino continues maturing.

Charity

Charitable Gambling

Eligible charities are allowed to offer bingo and raffles, provided they obtain licensing. You can see stipulations for what constitutes an eligible charity below:

  • Qualified charities include any group that exists for “charitable, benevolent, eleemosynary, educational, civic, patriotic, political, social, fraternal, athletic, or agricultural purposes only.”
  • Qualified corporations include any entity with a principal purpose to furnish volunteer aid to members of the armed forces and/or to mitigate the “sufferings caused by a pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other national calamities.”
  • Organizations wishing to offer charity gaming must have operated for at least 12 calendar months before being eligible for a gaming license.
  • Charity groups must also have no less than 15 bona-fide members with an equal right to vote in the election of officers and board members.
  • Organizations must have made significant progress towards accomplishing the purpose of their charity for 12 consecutive months.
  • Members of the charity can’t profit in any way from gambling, and all proceeds must go to the recognized cause.

Lottery

Lottery

Approved in 1982, the Washington Lottery offers an average variety of games when compared to other states.

Their offerings include daily keno, Hit 5, Lotto, Mega Millions, Powerball, and scratch-offs.

Pari-Mutuel Betting

Pari-Mutuel Betting

Greyhound racing is explicitly banned in Washington’s constitution, but horse racing is legal. The Washington Horse Racing Commission governs the state’s racing industry.

Auburn’s Emerald Downs and Sun Downs are the only tracks that offer live racing. The rest of Washington’s horse racing industry is based on off-track betting facilities.

Poker

Poker

Washington has over 300 poker tables, which is far more than most states. In comparison, Nevada, America’s gambling capital, has 730 poker tables.

But while Washington may have a lot of poker tables, they don’t have many large cardrooms. The majority are 3-5 table venues that are based in bars or restaurants.

Mucklesshoot Casino owns the state’s biggest poker room with 32 tables. Tulalip Resort has the next largest at 20 tables.

Both of these venues offer a wide variety of games, including 7-card stud, Crazy Pineapple, HORSE, limit Texas hold’em, no-limit Texas hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, pot-limit Omaha, and Razz.

Social Gaming

Social Gambling

Social card games are legal under Washington law. Here’s how RCW 9.46.0265 defines a participant in these social games:

“A natural person who gambles at a social game of chance on equal terms with the other participants shall not be considered as rendering material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation of the social game merely by performing, without fee or remuneration, acts directed toward the arrangement or facilitation of the game, such as inviting persons to play, permitting the use of premises for the game, or supplying cards or other equipment to be used in the games.”

As you can see, the key distinction is that nobody takes a cut of the action or profits through other services (i.e. selling drinks and food).

While the Evergreen State is fine with you playing card games, office betting pools are considered illegal. Covered in , the Washington State Gambling Commission offers the following on the subject:

“However, bracket pools, office sports pools, and fantasy sports have never been authorized as gambling activities in Washington State and are illegal.”

Where Can I Gamble in Washington?

Blue Tent12 Tribes Resort Casino

Address: 28968 U.S. 97, Okanogan, WA 98840
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker Coin7 Cedars Casino

Address: 270756 U.S. 101, Sequim, WA 98382
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinAll Star Arcade Bowling Casino

Address: 10710 Silverdale Way Northwest, Silverdale, WA 98383
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bowling
Blue TentAngel of the Winds Casino Hotel

Address: 3438 Stoluckquamish Ln, Arlington, WA 98223
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentBJ’s Bingo & Gaming

Address: 4411 Pacific Highway East, Fife, WA 98424
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bingo
Poker CoinBlack Pearl Poker Room & Casino

Address: 2104 North Pines Road, Spokane Valley, WA 99216
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Poker Room
Poker CoinBuzz’Inn Steakhouse and Casino

Address: 280 Grant Road, East Wenatchee, WA 98802
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Restaurant
RiverboatCasino Caribbean – Kirkland

Address: 12526 Northeast 144th Street, Kirkland, WA 98034
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
RiverboatCasino Caribbean – Yakima

Address: 901 Boggess Lane, Yakima, WA 98901
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
Blue TentChewelah Casino

Address: 2555 Smith Road, Chewelah, WA 99109
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinChips Casino Lakewood

Address: 8200 Tacoma Mall Boulevard, Lakewood, WA 98499
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
Poker CoinChip’s Casino Tukwila

Address: 14101 Pacific Highway South, SeaTac, WA 98188
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
Poker CoinClub Hollywood Casino Shoreline

Address: 16716 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline, WA 98133
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
Blue TentCoulee Dam Casino

Address: 515 Birch Street, Coulee Dam, WA 99116
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinCoyote Bob’s Roadhouse Casino

Address: 3014 West Kennewick Avenue, Kennewick, WA 99336
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bar
Poker CoinCozy’s Roadhouse

Address: 8872 WA-525, Clinton, WA 98236
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Restaurant
Blue TentCrazy Moose Casino II Mountlake Terrace

Address: 22003 66th Avenue West, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043
Website:
Venue Type:Poker Room
Blue TentCrazy Moose Casino Pasco

Address: 510 South 20th Avenue, Pasco, WA 99301
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinDiamond Lil’s Card Casino

Address: 361 Rainier Avenue South, Renton Shopping Center, Renton, WA 98057
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinDrift On Inn Roadhouse Casino

Address: 16708 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline, WA 98133
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
Blue HorseEmerald Downs Racing

Address: 2300 Emerald Downs Drive, Auburn, WA 98001
Website:
Venue Type:Racetrack
Blue TentElwha River Casino

Address: 631 Stratton Road, Port Angeles, WA 98363
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentEmerald Queen Casino I-5

Address: 2024 East 29th Street, Tacoma, WA 98404
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
Blue TentEmerald Queen Hotel & Casino

Address: 5700 Pacific Highway East, Fife, WA 98424
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
Poker CoinFortune Poker Room

Address: 3650 E Valley Rd, Renton, WA 98057
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinFreddie’s Club of Renton

Address: 111 South 3rd Street, Renton, WA 98057
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinGolden Nugget Casino Tukwila

Address: 14025 Interurban Avenue South, Tukwila, WA 98168
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinGoldie’s Shoreline Casino

Address: 15030 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline, WA 98133
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinGreat American Casino – Everett

Address: 12715 4th Avenue West, Everett, WA 98204
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinGreat American Casino – Lakewood

Address: 10117 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood, WA 98499
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinGreat American Casino – Tukwila

Address: 14040 Interurban Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98168
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinHank’s Casino

Address: 22540 Washington 3, Belfair, WA 98528
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
Blue TentHard Rock Hotel and Casino Spokane (under construction)

Address: 14212 US-2, Medical Lake, WA 99022
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentHawk’s Prairie Casino

Address: 8318 Quinault Drive Northeast, Lacey, WA 98516
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentHideaway Restaurant and Casino

Address: 14525 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline, WA 98133
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinHighway Twenty Roadhouse

Address: 2152 West Sims Way, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bar
Poker CoinHugo’s On Hill

Address: 3023 East 28th Avenue, Lincoln Heights Shopping Center, Spokane, WA 99223
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bowling
Blue TentIlani Casino Resort

Address: 3305 NW Pekin Ferry Rd, Ridgefield, WA 98642
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue HorseIron Horse Casino

Address: 333 15th Street Northeast, Auburn, WA 98002
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinJokers Casino & Sports Bar

Address: 624 Wellsian Way, Richland, WA 99352
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bowling
Poker CoinKegler’s Poker Room at Wildcard Sports Bar

Address: 560 Valley Mall Parkway, East Wenatchee, WA 98802
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room & Bar
Poker CoinLancer Lanes and Casino

Address: 1250 Bridge Street, Clarkston, WA 99403
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinLilac Lanes & Casino

Address: 1112 East Magnesium Road, Spokane, WA 99217
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bowling
Blue TentLittle Creek Casino Resort

Address: 91 West State Route 108, Shelton, WA 98584
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinLucky 21 Casino

Address: 1020 Atlantic Avenue, Woodland, WA 98674
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinLucky Dog Casino

Address: 19330 U.S. 101, Skokomish, WA 98584
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
Blue TentLucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

Address: 12888 188th Avenue Southwest, Rochester, WA 98579
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinMacau Casino – Lakewood

Address: 9811 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood, WA 98499
Website:
Venue Type:Casino
Poker CoinMacau Casino – South Center

Address: 5700 Southcenter Boulevard, Tukwila, WA 98188
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinMill Bay Casino

Address: 455 Wapato Lake Road, Manson, WA 98831
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinMr. Z’s Casino at Zeppo’s Bowl

Address: 780 Southeast Bishop Boulevard, Pullman, WA 99163
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bowling
Blue TentMuckleshoot Casino

Address: 2402 Auburn Way South, Auburn, WA 98002
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentNew Phoenix and Last Frontier Casinos

Address: 105 West 4th Street, La Center, WA 98629
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinNob Hill Casino

Address: 3807 West Nob Hill Boulevard, Yakima, WA 98902
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bowling
Blue TentNooksack Northwood Casino

Address: 9750 Northwood Road, Lynden, WA 98264
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentNorthern Quest Resort & Casino

Address: 100 North Hayford Road, Airway Heights, WA 99001
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue ShipNorwegian Cruise Lines – Bliss

Address: 2001 W Garfield St, Seattle, WA 98199
Website:
Venue Type:Cruise Ship Casino
Blue ShipNorwegian Cruise Lines – Jewel

Address: 2001 W Garfield St, Seattle, WA 98199
Website:
Venue Type:Cruise Ship Casino
Blue ShipNorwegian Cruise Lines – Pearl

Address: 2001 W Garfield St, Seattle, WA 98199
Website:
Venue Type:Cruise Ship Casino
Poker CoinOak Bowl Sports Lounge & Card Room

Address: 531 Southeast Midway Boulevard, Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room & Bar
Poker CoinPalace Casino La Center

Address: 318 Pacific Highway, La Center, WA 98629
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinPalace Casino Lakewood

Address: 8200 Tacoma Mall Boulevard, Lakewood, WA 98499
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinPapa’s Sports Lounge & Casino

Address: 1165 North Stratford Road, Moses Lake, WA 98837
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Lounge
Blue TentPoint Casino

Address: 7989 Northeast Salish Lane, Kingston, WA 98346
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentQuil Ceda Creek Casino

Address: 410 33rd Avenue Northeast, Marysville, WA 98271
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentQuinault Beach Resort & Casino

Address: 78 State Route 115, Hoquiam, WA 98550
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinRC’s Restaurant Casino Sportsbar

Address: 31 Ray Road, Sunnyside, WA 98944
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bar
Blue TentRed Dragon Casino Mountlake

Address: 21917 Washington 99, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentRed Wind Casino at Nisqually

Address: 12819 Yelm Highway Southeast, Olympia, WA 98513
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinRiverside Casino

Address: 14060 Interurban Avenue South, Tukwila, WA 98168
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinRoman Casino

Address: 11829 Renton Avenue South, Skyway Park Shopping Center, Seattle, WA 98178
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinRoxy’s Casino Bowling Bar & Grill

Address: 2823 Southwest Roxbury Street, Seattle, WA 98126
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bowling
Blue ShipRoyal Caribbean International – Explorer of the Seas

Address: Seattle, WA
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Blue TentRoyal Casino Everett

Address: 13010 Washington 99, Everett, WA 98204
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Cruise ShipShoalwater Bay Casino

Address: 4112 State Route 105, Grayland, WA 98547
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinSilver Dollar Casino Mill Creek

Address: 17917 Bothell Everett Highway, Bothell, WA 98012
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinSilver Dollar Casino Renton

Address: 3100 East Valley Road, Renton, WA 98057
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinSilver Dollar Casino Seatac

Address: 19222 International Boulevard, SeaTac, WA 98188
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Blue TentSilver Reef Hotel Casino Spa

Address: 4876 Haxton Way, Ferndale, WA 98248
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentSkagit Valley Casino Resort

Address: 85984 Darrk Lane, Bow, WA 98232
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinSlo Pitch Sports Grill & Casino

Address: 3720 Meridian Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
Website:
Venue Type:Casino & Bar
Blue TentSnoqualmie Casino

Address: 37500 Southeast North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, WA 98065
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue HorseSun Downs

Address: 1500 South Oak Street, Kennewick, WA 99337
Website:
Venue Type:Racetrack
Blue TentSuquamish Clearwater Casino Resort

Address: 15347 Suquamish Way Northeast, Suquamish, WA 98392
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentSwinomish Casino & Lodge

Address: 12885 Casino Drive, Anacortes, WA 98221
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Poker CoinTulalip Bingo

Address: 2911 Quil Ceda Way, Marysville, WA 98271
Website:
Venue Type:Bingo
Blue TentTulalip Resort Casino

Address: 10200 Quil Ceda Boulevard, Marysville, WA 98270
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue TentTwo Rivers Casino Resort

Address: 6828 Washington 25, Davenport, WA 99122
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino
Blue ShipWaterfront Seafood and Bar Poker Room

Address: 521 W Holly St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinUBet Casino

Address: 1125 Commerce Ave, Longview, WA 98632
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinWild Goose Casino

Address: 1600 Currier Street, Ellensburg, WA 98926
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Poker CoinWindstar Cruises – Wind Spirit

Address: Elliot Bay Office Park, 300 Elliott Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119
Website:
Venue Type:Cruise Ship Casino
Poker CoinWizards Casino

Address: 15739 Ambaum Boulevard Southwest, Burien, WA 98166
Website:
Venue Type:Card Room
Blue TentYakama Nation Legends Casino

Address: 580 Fort Road, Toppenish, WA 98948
Website:
Venue Type:Tribal Casino

Online Gambling Options in Washington

In 2006, Washington amended their constitution to include the strictest laws against online gaming anywhere.

The state can pursue felony charges against anyone caught playing at an internet gaming site. Here’s the law, as per RCW 9.46.240:

“Whoever knowingly transmits or receives gambling information by telephone, telegraph, radio, semaphore, the internet, a telecommunications transmission system, or similar means, or knowingly installs or maintains equipment for the transmission or receipt of gambling information shall be guilty of a class C felony subject to the penalty set forth in RCW 9A.20.021.”

As covered before, Washington’s class C felony charge carries up to 5 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

This punishment is harsh to say the least. But the good news is that the Evergreen State has never prosecuted anybody for playing online casino or poker games.

Nevertheless, you’ll have trouble finding offshore casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks that are willing to serve Washington.

Attempts to Legalize Online Poker in Washington

Ever since Washington amended their constitution to make online gaming illegal, there have been attempts to challenge RCW 9.46.240 and legalize poker.

The first challenge came from poker player Lee Russo and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) in 2010. Russo and the PPA argued that Washington residents have the right to play poker, and they shouldn’t be subject to a felony for doing so.

The Washington Supreme Court admitted that they don’t endorse the law. But they also ruled that state legislators have the right to pass such a statue and punishment.

House Bill 1824 was introduced in 2013 as a means to reduce the penalty for recreational online poker players to a civil infraction. The legislation received a short hearing but never advanced.

In 2015, state Rep. Sherry Appleton introduced HB 1114, which would’ve legalized internet poker. Unfortunately, the bill never gained much traction.

Appleton and state Rep. Vincent Buys reintroduced the legislation in 2016. Once again, the bill failed to even get a hearing.

Despite the lack of success for online gaming legislation, politicians are at least taking steps towards reducing Washington’s draconian iGaming laws.

Washington Arrests NASCAR Fantasy Operator

As reported by , the Washington State Gambling Commission arrested a Spokane man for running an online fantasy NASCAR site.

David Watkins, who operated FantasyThunder.com, was arrested in 2011 after running the site for a decade.

Several players claimed that Watkins owed them money, which was part of the reasoning behind the raid. Furthermore, Watkins was said to have kept half of the fantasy fees, which is an enormous commission for fantasy sports.

The gambling commission agents charged Watkins with running an illegal gambling site, and transmitting gambling information by computer and telephone.

Watkins’ punishments included receiving 12 months’ probation, forfeiting $100,000 in profit, and seeing FantasyThunder shut down.

Daily Fantasy Sports Declared Illegal in Washington

The David Watkins case was brought up during a lawsuit between the state of New York and leading daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites. The reason why is because Washington is the only American state to have prosecuted a fantasy sports site.

According to , the Washington State Gambling Commission was asked to comment on the case regarding New York.

“Any DFS company operating in Washington or providing services to Washington residents would be illegal under state law,” said a spokesperson.

This statement is in line with Watkins’ 2011 arrest and Washington’s tough laws on internet gaming.

Cowlitz Tribe Opens $510 Million Ilani Casino

Backed by Connecticut’s Mohegan Tribe and opened by Washington’s Cowlitz Tribe, Ilani Casino launched tofanfare in 2017.

The $510 million complex has gained attention for its vast number of slot machines, 15 restaurants, and Vegas-style resort amenities. Its location is also a hot topic because Ilani is located in La Center, WA – just 25 miles from downtown Portland, Oregon.

The strategic location is used to take advantage of Portland’s metropolitan population of 2.39 million. The casino also benefits from limited competition in Portland, where only a few cardrooms and distant tribal casinos exist.

Ilani Casino has immediately provided benefits to the Cowlitz Tribe, which was poor due to failed land negotiations with the US government in the 19th century.

But while Ilani might be a boon to the Cowlitz, it’s hurting Oregon’s Grande Ronde Community Tribe. The Grande Ronde own the Spirit Mountain Casino south of Portland, and they estimate that they’re losing 40% revenue due to the new casino.

According to , the Oregon tribe sued to prevent the Ilani Casino from opening. But the Grande Ronde Community dropped their lawsuit in 2016.

Washington Gambling FAQ

Are Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in Washington?

No. DFS falls under the umbrella of RCW 9.46.240, which makes it a felony to engage in online gaming. The Washington State Gambling Commission backed this up by saying that DFS is illegal by state law.

In 2015, state Rep. Eric Pettigrew and state Sen. Pam Roach introduced legislation that would’ve classified DFS as a skill-based activity. But like many other online gaming bills in Washington, this legislation didn’t go anywhere.

Is My Home Poker Game Legal

Yes. Washington’s constitution states that social card games are fine, provided the host isn’t banking the action and/or providing through other means.

But Washington does allow cities to pass local ordinances that ban social gaming. As reported by , the Gambling Commission shut down nickel-and-dime poker games at the Snohomish Senior Center.

The reasoning is that a local ordinance bans gambling in Snohomish, and the seniors continued to play poker anyways.

Is My March Madness Betting Pool Legal?

No. The Washington State Gambling Commission has previously stated that office betting pools and fantasy sports are illegal.

It’s odd that the state would allow friendly card-game wagers, but not betting on the NCAA March Madness tournament. Our guess is that Washington had a trouble with bookmaking in previous decades and has carried a strict anti-sports betting stance.

We’re not encouraging you to offer office betting pools every year. But we can’t find one instance of somebody being arrested for running a non-profit March Madness bracket.

Odds are that you’ll be perfectly fine as long as nobody in the office betting pool is taking fees from players.

History of Washington Gambling Laws

1889

State government makes gambling illegal to help curb the problem

1909

No Horse Racing

Horse racing banned

1933

Pari-mutuel betting legalized

1937

Government approves slot machines for charity organizations

1952

Washington Supreme Court bans slot machines for non-profit purposes

1963

Voters reject giving cities the right to offer charity gaming

1971

Bingo and raffles approved; law enforcement arrests 50 police officers and officials for taking gambling bribes

1972

Voters reject greyhound racing

1973

Washington Gambling Commission created to monitor charity gaming

1976

Puyallup Tribe opens Washington’s first casino

1978

Federal government orders Puyallup Casino to close

1982

Voters approve state lottery

1983

Several tribes open bingo halls, while Lummi Tribe offers blackjack

1988

: Indian Gaming Regulatory Act passed

1991

Lummi Tribe opens state’s first authorized casino

1992

Tulalip Tribe opens casino

1993

Nooksack Tribe opens casino

1996

Voters reject bid from 19 tribes to offer slot machines at their casinos

1998

Gov. Gary Locke signs compact with 12 tribes that allows slot machines

2006

Washington bans all forms of online poker

2008-2010

State makes various changes to poker limits at cardrooms

2012

State raises Texas hold’em limits from $40 to $100 due to voter demand

2015-2016

Bills to legalize online poker both fail to advance

2017

Casino Ilani opens near Oregon border

Conclusion

Washington changes their gaming laws more than most states. We’re not sure why, but legislators can’t seem to stop tinkering with their gambling legislation.

We reiterate that you should contact a Washington attorney if you have any major questions beyond what we’ve covered.

But as a rule of thumb, you should be fine as long as you avoid online gaming and unlicensed gambling establishments.

For whatever reason, Washington decided internet gaming is so bad that they made the activity a felony. Fortunately, some politicians are making efforts to legalize iGaming, or at least lessen the stiff punishments.

In the meantime, you can enjoy a wide range of other gambling activities in the Evergreen State, including charitable gaming, horse racing, lotteries, social gaming, poker, and tribal casinos.

Given that Washington has 94 gaming establishments, you’ll never have to look far to place a legal bet.

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