- It’s legal but it isn’t. Say what?
- Limited to 100 square sports pool boards, maximum bet of $1.
- So, you could say it’s largely illegal.
- Come back in November 2020 for the outcome of the ballot.
Welcome to Washington, where there is some good gambling going on, but none that includes sports betting (many will argue that technically sports betting is legal but let’s push past the moot point of betting on single event $1 limit social sports boards).
In 2019, there were three attempts to pass bills to legalize sports betting but none succeeded. This year, the window of opportunity to get the ball rolling for legalizing sports betting is extremely narrow. Legislating sessions only run from January 13 to March 13, because it is an election and non budget year. Obviously, the chances are low. To have lawmakers pass any bill within a sixty day window is similar to playing Powerball.
Legality of Sports Betting in Washington
Whilst sports betting onshore remains illegal, there is a huge push by both native American tribes and Private Card Room (mini casino) operators to achieve an approval to put to the public in November 2020 the right to vote on sports betting in Washington.
Differences in direction are large between native American tribes and the Card Room Operators.
In the left corner of the ring, Bill HB2478 is being supported by those who want sports betting available at a wide range of outlets, including horse racking tracks and mini casinos. This Bill supports onsite and mobile sports betting, with a $500,000 license fee to be imposed on operators. The minimum age is 18 with a 10% of gross revenue to be forward to the State for educational and other other social programs.
This bill is backed by Maverick Gaming, a company that began in 2017 from Nevada, and has recently acquired many license card operators, presumably in readiness for the legalization of sports betting.
In the right corner of the ring, we have Bill HB2368. This bill limits sports betting to on-site via mobile, terminal or kiosk ONLY at native American casinos. Naturally, the native American tribes are supporting this bill.
If either bill is not approved by the end of the legislative session in mid March 2020, sports betting legalization will need to wait till next year to be discussed further.
Gambling in Washington
The legalization of sports betting in a US State is often influenced by existing gambling infrastructure. In the case of Washington, gambling exists if predominantly two forms, native American casinos and Licensed Card Rooms.
In the table below, you can see that native American casinos pull in a turnover of approximately $35 billion dollars per year! Second is the State Lottery followed by Private Card Rooms. Towards the bottom of turnover per year are Online Sports Betting and Online Casino wagering via offshore based operators.
|Pulltab / Punchboard||234||239|
|Sports Betting (Offshore)||34||35|
Native American Casinos
In Washington State there are 29 Federally recognized tribes that operate over 20 native American casinos. The tribes have an agreement known as a compact with the Federal Government that allows casinos to be operated on tribal land. Often a compact will outline games that are permitted via the classification of Class I, II and III gaming. Class I describes games of social and charitable nature. Class II often includes bingo and light forms of gambling that can include profits to the operator. Class III usually encompasses all other forms of gaming, including Vegas style slot machines, and sports betting. Currently sports betting is not clearly included in any of the classifications of gaming. Therefore, sports betting remains illegal for native American casinos.
Licensed Card Room
There are over 40 licensed card rooms in Washington State. These card rooms are not held on tribal land, and can only offer card games and pull tabs. No slot machines are permitted, as it is against the State law. Slot machines can only be offered at native American casinos.
Licensed Card Rooms are also known as mini casinos. They often combine offering tables games with other activities such as bowling, pool tables, darts, live entertainment and food and drinks.
Currently a company called Maverick Gaming which is based in Las Vegas has been acquiring several licensed card rooms. At last count they own 19 card rooms in Washington. They appear to be on an aggressive launch to corner the market of Card Room operators in the state.
A list of licensed card rooms in Washington is per below:
|Aces Casino||Goldie’s Shoreline Casino||Papa’s Casino Restaurant and Lounge|
|All Star Lanes & Casino||Great American Casino Everett||Red Dragon Casino|
|Black Pearl Restaurant and Card Room||Great American Casino Lakewood||Riverside Casino|
|Buzz Inn Steakhouse and Casino||Great American Casino Tukwila||Roman Casino|
|Caribbean Cardroom||Hawk’s Prairie Casino & Restaurant||Roxy’s Casino|
|Casino Caribbean – Kirkland||Iron Horse Casino||Royal Casino|
|Casino Caribbean – Yakima||Joker’s Casino and Sports Bar||Silver Dollar Casino – Mill Creek|
|Chips Casino Lakewood||Lancer Lanes Fun Center and Casino||Silver Dollar Casino – Renton|
|Clearwater Saloon & Casino||Lilac Lanes and Casino||Silver Dollar Casino – Seatac|
|Club Hollywood Casino||Macau Casino – Lakewood||Slo Pitch Sports Grill & Casino|
|Coyote Bob’s Roadhouse Casino||Macau Casino – Tukwila||The Last Frontier Casino|
|Crazy Moose Casino – Mountlake||Mr. Z’s Casino||Valley Lanes Casino|
|Crazy Moose Casino – Pasco||Nob Hill Casino||Wild Goose Casino|
|Fortune Casino – Renton||Palace Casino La Center||Wizards Restaurant and Casino|
|Fortune Casino – Tukwila||Palace Casino Lakewood|
Washington Horse Racing and Betting
Pari-mutuel wagering is permitted in Washington. The largest race track being Emerald Downs with the small Sun Downs struggling to survive. Emerald Downs began in 1996 and operates from July to September. Their biggest event is the Longacres Mile Handicap.
Emerald Downs Horse Track
2300 Ron Crockett Dr, Auburn, Washington
Emerald Downs doesn’t quite compare to another top notch race tracks flourishing in other States, but it still packs a punch and is a lot of fun! The course is very well kept, and lots to do to for families. At the top floor is a mini-casino with table games only. There are no slots or other games besides table card games. Food and drink is reasonable, and there is a convenient shuttle bus to take you to and from the parking lot.
Washington Online Sports Betting
Unbeknownst to many, online sports betting has been occurring for many years.
Washington sports betting turnover for 2019 was $34 million, wagered via online sport betting sites.
These online sport betting sites are offshore and are open to accepting US players.
Is this illegal?
It is a gray area. The current state laws do not clearly articulate whether gambling offshore online is illegal or not. Therefore, you will find many online sports books (and online casinos) accepting US players from states that have ambiguous gambling laws – Washington is one of those states.
Is it dangerous?
There are two aspects to this question.
Firstly, will you get caught or fined?
I highly doubt it. Till this day, there has been no precedence of anyone being charged with breaking the law for playing at offshore online sports betting books or offshore online casinos.
Secondly, are offshore sports betting books trustworthy and reliable?
Very much so. They have been operating in the market for many years and sports betting is a clear cut outcome (when compared to online casino games). It’s therefore extremely difficult to argue that an outcome of a sports bet is wrong.
How can I find an online Sports Book?
The most popular offshore sports book is Bovada. It is the largest and has a long standing history of operating a sports book for US citizens.
Do NOT place a bet at an unlicensed sports book operating offshore. Unlicensed sportsbooks may not be reliable. Although they may offer great Welcome Bonuses, their promise to pay any winnings may be empty. Keep with the which are trusted and the big brand names.
How can I place a Sports Bet onshore?
It is illegal to run a sports book or place a sports bet within the borders of Washington. Other than placing a sports bet at an offshore online sports book the only other option is to travel interstate where sports betting has been legalized.
Popular Washington Sport Bets
Sports Betting Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
The Seattle Seahawks had a typical season. Started slow (terribly) then tried to make a late push for the playoffs but came up short. Arguably, the hawks suffered a few key injuries during the season which set them back so there is reason for not pushing further up the ladder. The losses they suffered in 2019 were all to strong teams, so not is all lost. In fact, it was a reasonable effort, and there is upside to look forward to in 2020 if the right trades are made.
Sports Betting Seattle Mariners (MLB)
The Mariners didn’t have an overall bad season in 2019. You could say, it was as expected. Perhaps what helped set expectations (very low) were comments made by general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais saying that the team would “struggle”. And low and behold, the Mariners shot out to a 13-2 season start! What tha? Following this fast start, the Mariners came back down to earth going 13-38 and proved management to be right.
Slot Machines in Washington
You will find slot machines available at ONLY native American casinos in Washington. These are normally the Class II slot machines whilst I believe there are some Class III Vegas Style slot machines.
Pay outs ratios for slot machines at native American casinos are not required to be disclosed to the public per the compact. Hence it is unknown whether pay ratios are comparable with slot machines between casinos and interstate.
Owning a Slot Machine in Washington
Owning a slot machine is permitted for private use only if the following conditions are met.
Firstly, the slot machine must be at least 25 years or older. The intention is that slot machines are to be for collectors, i.e. as a hobby, and therefore a new slot machine should not be considered as a collector’s item.
Secondly, the slot machine cannot be used for gambling purposes for the owner to profit from. Should it be used in the form of profiteering through gambling, fines may be imposed.
Washington Card Rooms Reviewed
Aces Casino & Poker Room
12828 E Sprague Ave, Spokane Valley, Washington
Previous building was burnt out in 2018, and a brand new facility was created in 2019. Good easy comfort food to eat – bread, soup and salads. Has pool tables, a bowling alley, and five very clean poker rooms. A great selection of local craft beer on offer.
All Star Lanes & Casino
10710 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale, Washington
A great fun place for the whole family. Includes a fantastic bowling alley where the beginner and serious player love to play. But also a really cool old school card room. If you are a beginner to playing cards, have no fear, they will kindly and patiently teach you AND match your first $20. Once you get the hang of it, you can join in their many tournaments on offer.
The Black Pearl Poker Room & Casino
2104 N Pines Rd, Spokane Valley, Washington
Come to the Black Pearl for a lot of the gambling action. A lot of players seem to forget that card rooms are NOT permitted to allow slots, roulette, craps and other games that do not involve cards – the law in Washington only allows licensed card rooms to offer blackjack, poker and other card games only. The most popular event are the Friday morning poker games with breakfast. The ALL DAY breakfast is a big hit here, so even if you don’t like to play a few card games, come and enjoy the breakfast.
Buzz Inn Steakhouse & Casino
280 Grant Rd #5332, East Wenatchee, Washington
You can experience fine dining at the Buzz Inn Steakhouse, together with a few cool games of cards. T Bone Steak, Rib Eye, mashed potatoes – excellent quality and great service. They also serve an excellent breakfast. The tables can become a little crowded. They usually offer blackjack, Spanish 21 poker and Pai Gow Poker.
12530 NE 144th St, Kirkland, Washington
A relatively small casino, but still packs a lot of fun. The drinks and food are very cheap! You could drink all night to make up any losses…. (just kidding – do not do that). The Monte Carlo board has great promotions running throughout the day, and players can accumulate points that can be redeemed for great prizes.
Chips Casino Lakewood (Sports Bar)
8200 Tacoma Mall Blvd, Lakewood, Washington
This place is awesome for drinks, card games and watching the sport! Plus if you like your Vietnamese pho (fur) then this is the place to be. For the Texas Hold’em and Omaha players, you will be happy to find your place here too. A great little place for blackjack, poker and having a few drinks on the side.
Clearwater Saloon & Casino
838 Valley Mall Pkwy #4842, East Wenatchee, Washington
A very busy and popular casino, but noticeably with a high staff turnover. You will therefore find that the service can either be great or average. Having said that, the poker is fun though buy-ins can be high. Also available are live performances, bands and comedy clubs.
Club Hollywood Casino
16716 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, Washington
A really cool casino and film buff museum for the adults. 21 years and older allowed onto this premise, so if you have family with under age children you will need to give this a miss. The card room offers the usual blackjack, poker, Spanish 21 and Pai Gow Poker.
Coyote Bob’s Roadhouse Casino
3014 W Kennewick Ave, Kennewick, Washington
What a lovely little card room. The staff are awesome here. Even if you’re not a player, they will make you feel right at home. The drinks are only $2 if you are playing at a table. There are over 12 gaming tables, with TVs mounted on the walls to watch your favorite games. A great authentic old school wild west feel.
Crazy Moose Casino Mountlake Terrace
22003 66th Ave W, Mountlake Terrace, Washington
The Crazy Moose offers that good ol’ ranch comfort food of burgers, fries and steak. All day breakfast available at a cheap $5.99 (at time of writing). Beer on tap is available, but a limited selection. Gaming floor can get very busy.
Fortune Casino Renton
111 S 3rd St, Renton, Washington
Went through a huge renovation recently which caused a few rumbles of discontent among the locals. But the great thing is that it is now finished and it’s awesome! A very professional and well run casino. The food however can be a little hit and miss, so just be alert to this, if you are not a player. There are perhaps other places to go for the food.
Goldie’s Shoreline Casino
15030 Aurora Ave N, Shoreline, Washington
The Goldie’s is a cool little casino, that offers a wide range for food and complimentary soft drinks and coconut juice for table game players. Asian fusion could be best described for menu choices, Vietnamese pho, noodles in soup, but also wraps, tacos, and a value for money breakfast for $3.99. What’s not to love? The beer is also very cheap and there’s pull tabs to play at. The tables offer blackjack, Spanish 21 and Pai Gow Poker. Occasionally a few others games too. I wouldn’t class this as a family friendly joint, more for the adults only.
Great American Casino Everett
12715 4th Ave W, Everett, Washington
Extremely well priced steak and eggs, and therefore most customers come here simply for the food. The portions are massive, and the Asian dishes are delicious as well. Naturally, it’s the table games that the casino is trying to make money from, so they are hoping that you will play a few games as well. Minimum age of 21 to enter the casino.
Great American Casino Lakewood
10117 S Tacoma Way, Tacoma, Washington
A really cool and well run establishment. Nice clean layout, with awesome food and well priced. A nice cool calming atmosphere, which could be deemed more for the older generation, but I beg to differ. It simply isn’t that rowdy sports crazy, gamble crazy feel to it. Nice new little sushi bar brings something different to the locality. Two pool tables are tucked into the back corner, and there is live music, and dancing on Friday and Saturdays. Will occasionally show the Seattle Seahawks games on a large screen projector on game day.
Great American Casino Tukwila
14040 Interurban Ave S, Tukwila, Washington
A great place to go and watch your sports games. Perhaps should be more appropriate to be called a sports bar, but with table games to the side. The Chinese food is the best here. It’s a popular Asian hang out place, with Mongolian lamb, pork buns, noodles and soup, fried rice…. the works!
A large variety of card games to play at, and fantastic layout, lined up tables nicely. Also has the live performances, belting out a few Asian classics. Why go to Macau when you can come here!
Hawk’s Prairie Casino & Restaurant
8318 Quinault Dr NE, Lacey, Washington
Wow, this casino is really good. I mean really really good. A nice beautiful theme going of ranch, rustic mountain back drop. None smokers will love it, it’s smoke free, and the table games are nicely sectioned from the dining and the bar area. Table games include baccarat, poker and blackjack. There are no slots or roulette. The food portions are massive, and it’s delicious.
Plenty of TV’s screens for easy viewing of your favorite games, and OTB betting is offered. A very popular casino, can get a bit rowdy when busy, but that simply attests to how good it is here.
Iron Horse Casino
333 15th St NE, Auburn, Washington
More like a sports bar, with plenty of TV’s for your favorite sport game viewing. Not so family friendly, for the gamblers and sports lovers kinda joint. The food is a bit hit and miss – the fried chick hasn’t had the best feedback. Stick to the drinks and the table games at the Iron Horse Casino.
Joker’s Casino and Sports Bar
A nice little cheerie local hang out. Don’t expect upmarket contemporary, but rather low key and old fashioned comfort food and table games. Looks a little more run down that other establishments, but it’s the tournaments that are the main attraction for this joint.
Lancer Lanes and Casino
1250 Bridge St, Clarkston, Washington
This place has got it all for the entire family. A bowling alley with over 10 lanes, a nice video arcade with plenty of games for the kids to earn coupons and redeem fun toy prizes, and mini golf (putt putt) course outside with lots of different themes and of course a table game area that offers poker, baccarat and blackjack. A great place fulfills a family’s needs.
Lilac Lanes and Casino
1112 E Magnesium Rd, Spokane, Washington
If you love your bowling that you need to come here. Lots of fun, clean and well kept. The staff are awesome and very helpful.
Don’t come here for the food or the table games, if that’s what you are looking for.
9811 S Tacoma Way, Lakewood, Washington
I love this place. The food is the epitome of Chinese simple home cooked, yet restaurant perfect dining. Salt and pepper wings, the usual fried rice, beef and black bean, noodles and soup, fried dumplings and even crab. After having a meal, head over to the tables. This place is super clean, tidy with nothing out of place. You will love it!
Mr. Z’s Casino
780 SE Bishop Blvd #5510, Pullman, Washington
A very small little casino. Only 5 tables to play at, with no dining or other attractions. More for the locals unless you are desperate to play a few games.
Nob Hill Casino
3807 W Nob Hill Blvd, Yakima, Washington
A very small establishment. Only a few tables to play at. Looks a little run down, and needs freshening up. If you are driving through, you might want to stop at a different place.
318 NW Pacific Hwy, La Center, Washington
An odd but really delicious fusion of Chinese, Vietnamese and Mexican on the menu. Clam chowder is apparently very good! It’s a 24 hour casino that is only a two hour drive from Portland, Oregon. Having said that, the service can be inconsistent. On busy nights, you will have to be patient especially if your group is big! A very hustle and bustle feel to this casino. You will love this casino, if you like an energetic atmosphere.
1165 N Stratford Rd, Moses Lake, Washington
Family friendly with a bowling alley and arcade that is separate from the casino. Nice and chilled out atmosphere, not rowdy and unruly. It’s now named Ten X Pin Tap House. Very clean and tidy.
Red Dragon Poker
21917 Hwy 99, Mountlake Terrace, Washington
This place is for the gambler looking for that serious action. They got all the games, Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi and Low, blackjack, baccarat, and Pai Gow Poker. If you like the feel of the upmarket gaming that you have in Las Vegas, New Jersey then come here.
14060 Interurban Ave S, Tukwila, Washington
Not to be confused with the Riverside Casino in Iowa, the one in Washington is much smaller. A cozy little joint, serving nice Asian cuisine – the salt and pepper chicken wings are the best! Drinks are also very cheap, though limited in local craft beers.
11829 Renton Ave S, Seattle, Washington
More restaurant than casino. Large portions of Vietnamese dishes, that could be shared among many. Free Coke and Vietnamese coffee for players. I’ve never had Vietnamese coffee until this visit, and it’s different. Not has milky and frothy as a cappuccino with a darker texture. Don’t come here if you are looking for steak and chips or anything Western. It’s Asian and great Asian food to boot!
Royal Casino Everett
13010 Hwy 99, Everett, Washington
A nice little low key restaurant and casino. Serves both Asian and Western dishes. They have table card games only, no slots or roulette. Great place for many locals.
Slo Pitch Sports Grill & Casino
3720 Meridian St, Bellingham, Washington
One of the more happening sports bar and casino in Washington. Pool tables, pull table and table card games. Great for watching a few sports games at the bar. Service is super efficient and friendly. A nice little duck in and duck out place. Or even just to chill.
The Last Frontier Casino
105 W 4th St, La Center, Washington
A nice little casino with a non smokers poker room. Great chill atmosphere with a dining service attached to it. Burgers, fries and fish is very good. Members of the the Last Frontier receive really good perks, plenty of rewards for free play.