Make a Bet in Washington

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The Seattle skyline in Seattle, Washington. Karen Ducey/Getty Images/AFP

Sports betting is growing rapidly throughout the country ever since the federal law, PASPA, was overturned in 2018, and now Washington tribal casinos are getting in on the action. Specifically, the Angel of the Winds Casino, located in Snohomish County, is now open for legal sports betting business, where there is a cautious, yet optimistic approach. 

“This is an exciting time for our guests, as we are the first casino north of Seattle to bring this amenity to our property. Our plan is to continue to enhance the experience in the future with sports betting kiosks, and on-premise mobile option, and our helpful and friendly staff at The Book,” announced Travis O’Neil, Angel of the Winds chief executive officer.  

Overall, there are sixteen federally recognized tribes within Washington that have compacts with the state allowing them access to the bookmaking business. And now that the Keno Lounge has been transformed into The Book at the Angel of the Winds, all sports betting transactions are currently being made at the sportsbook with attendants taking the wagers. 

However, there are plans to install kiosks so that customers can do it themselves. Eventually, mobile betting will be instituted on the premises with limitations. 

The compacts for all the tribes are virtually identical with mobile betting being confined to anywhere on the casino floor, hotel rooms, conference centers, restaurants, and entertainment venues located on the property. Yet the compacts that prohibit making sports bets on the golf course or in shops not directly connected to the casino will be prohibited. 

The Stillaguamish Tribe, the owner of the Angel of the Winds Casino, has signed on with International Game Technology to power its sports betting platform. The early returns show the casino’s newly-minted sportsbook is getting action but management is taking a restrained approach to the new revenue stream. 

CEO, Travis O’Neil, said, “Business has been fairly moderate. We’re getting the word out and taking a pretty cautious approach. Our advantage is that we’re opening sooner than others. We’ll take our time and see how the market responds.” 

Although Washington has not been, nor is expected to be, a hotbed of sports betting activity, a recent Washington State University survey revealed that nearly 13 ½ percent of the population would be likely, or at least amenable, to bet on sports.

The study also showed that within four to five years, the sports betting market in Washington could establish a revenue stream of $94 million which would necessitate a yearly handle somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion.  

And to put that into perspective, New Jersey, the trailblazer in getting PASPA overturned in federal court, has recorded sports betting handles over $1 billion in both September and October which has been a boon to the casinos and a lucrative revenue stream for the state.  

And while the state of Washington will not approach those lofty numbers what we can expect to see is continued growth in a market segment that has caught fire nationwide and continues to gain steam. As more casinos hop onboard the sports betting bandwagon more interest will be generated and the numbers will continue to grow throughout the state as will the revenue derived from it.