Washington’s first sportsbook, at Snoqualmie Casino, opened in time for NFL this Thursday morning, as sports gambling becomes a reality in the state.
The sportsbook, Snoqualmie Casino’s latest addition, opened at 11 a.m. to begin accepting wagers as the NFL season kicks off with the Dallas Cowboys against latest Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night.
“A lot of work went into it to get this launched on time,” said Snoqualmie Casino CEO and President Stanford Le, reports KOMO News. “For the tribe, it’s very special – this is a tribe that wasn’t recognized 60 years ago.”
Sports betting in Washington was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee back in March 2020. As of now, 16 tribes have received state approval, and of those, nine have secured approval at a federal level last week by the U.S. Department of Interior. The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe now makes history by being the first to launch operations.
“Obviously, there’s revenue implications to that,” said Le in regards to launching wagers in time with the NFL season, reports The Seattle Times. “But more importantly, the timing was just right, the fervor for football season – this is making history.”
In order to be able to start taking wagers Thursday, the casino worked on sorting out licensing regulations and preparing hardware and software for the newly launched operations in advance. A process that could only be done in a week, as it was only earlier this month that the casino received the federal go-signal.
The casino communicated with vendors and regulators throughout the process just to make sure “that everybody hit their licensing requirements” on time.
But this extra work could be a winning factor for the casino: Le expects a surge in new customers attracted to sports wagering, and estimated up to 1,000 people for the opening date. Six sports gambling kiosks are stationed throughout the venue, with another four staffed counter windows through which bets can be placed.
However, mobile wagering will have to wait, as it is still a few weeks away from launching. Mobile betting is only permitted on-site, and Snoqualmie is currently conducting testing prior to begin operations, as well as implementing a virtual geofence perimeter to prevent online betting beyond casino grounds.
Arriving first at sports wagering in the state might mean big revenue for the casino, as the American Gaming Association estimates a record 45.2 Americans plan to wager on the new NFL season, up 36% from 2020’s season.
The increasing interest in sports betting is partly the result of expanded wagering legalization, with 26 states now having approved such gambling. According to the Washington Indian Gaming Commission, eight other tribes aside from Snoqualmie Casino are preparing to open up their own sportsbook following federal approval: Tulalip, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Lummi, Puyallup, Squaxin, Cowlitz and Spokane.