Carol Evans and Glen D. Nenema: Sports betting will be handled responsibly at tribal casinos

By Carol Evans and Glen D. Nenema

In 2020, the Washington State Legislature legalized sports betting on the premises of tribal casinos. That legislation passed with a bipartisan supermajority. Now, after nearly two years of careful planning and multiple layers of regulatory oversight, sports betting has begun at the Kalispel Tribe’s Northern Quest Casino. And sports betting will soon go live at the Spokane Tribe Casino and at 14 other tribal casinos across our state.

But even before most tribal sports betting has launched, one well-funded nontribal gambling company is pushing a huge expansion of sports betting and other gambling activities at neighborhood card rooms throughout our state. This week they filed a federal lawsuit that seeks to accomplish through the courts what our Legislature has repeatedly rejected. As the chairs of the Kalispel and Spokane tribes, we believe strongly that such an expansion would be a mistake. The Legislature carefully deliberated the pros and cons of sports betting and ultimately agreed on the right approach, one that is fully compliant with federal law.

Washington’s system of tribal gaming, in place for nearly three decades, has proven to be successful, safe, and responsible. Our state’s approach of limiting sports betting to tribal casinos protects public safety and reduces the risk of problem gambling. It keeps gambling out of the vast majority of our neighborhoods. Those who choose to place a sports bet at a tribal casino can feel safe in doing so, given the multiple layers of regulation and oversight that occur […]

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