Gambling in Washington offers a range of liberal betting regulations. The gambling laws cover a variety of tribal casinos, home ‘social’ gaming and card clubs spread throughout the state. The horse racing industry dates all the way back to 1933, including both off-track, online and live-betting options. Local jurisdictions have been granted the authority by the state to self-regulate charitable gaming. A State Lottery is offered to the state’s residents.

That said, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are illegal, and something akin to NJ online gambling sites are yet to become reality, but on the upside, Games of Skill online are perfectly legal for the participation of online players.

Washington Casino Gambling

Washington state is a haven for casino gamblers with a huge choice of venues for its players. Mostly on Tribal lands, there are more than 100 casinos that were created during the 1990’s after compacts were signed between the tribes and the state.

Cruise Casinos also operate out of Seattle where the ships sail the required 3 miles to reach international waters in order to offer full casino services to their clientele. Charity casinos round out the other fully legal casino options in Washington.

Online Casinos in Washington

Whilst the fantastic land-based casino industry is a boon for players in Washington, online casinos are an absolute no-no.

For the time being, online players in the Evergreen State can place bets online for horse and greyhound racing.

Games of Skill may also be played online, and are exempt from the State’s strict gambling laws, due to a loophole in the State Code of Washington’s definition of gambling under (9.46.0237);

‘risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance’.

Online players in the State of Washington are advised to solely participate in LEGAL online gambling games (i.e. Currently – Games of Skill and Horse and Greyhound Racing). Online players in the Evergreen State should steer clear of using U.S. based online casinos, or off-shore sites, until Washington State legislators agree to legalize online gambling.

Poker in Washington

Social poker and other card games are legal under Washington law (Section 9.46.0269 of the Revised State Code), which states that the stipulation for these social or ‘home’ games is that nobody takes a profit from the games, either by raking the pots or selling beverages.

See below for options to play Live Poker in Washington State.

Poker Rooms

Washington has over 300 poker tables, which is far more than most states and one of the highest table per capita ratios in the entire nation. By way of comparison, Nevada, America’s gambling capital, has 730 poker tables.

However, poker tables don’t sit in mega multi-story casino resorts in Washington. Sure, Washington has a lot of poker tables, but the state doesn’t have many large cardrooms. Most card rooms in Washington State are 3 to 5 table venues that are located in Tribal Casinos, bars or restaurants. Card clubs usually have live poker rooms and sometimes, even house-banked games like blackjack.

Online Poker Laws

Online Poker is illegal in Washington and the penalties for partaking in the practice are the harshest anti-gambling laws in the United States (See section above ‘Online Casinos in Washington’ and for further clarification on the severity of the anti-online gambling laws).

Bill HB 1114 was introduced to the Washington State Legislature firstly in 2015 and then again in 2016 in a concerted effort by lawmakers to administer and regulate legal online poker in the State. However, the bill failed to win a lot of traction on either occasion and it appears the topic of legal online poker has been placed on the legislative backburner for the time being at least. We will advise if there are any developments on the horizon.

  • Gambling is viable source of additional income for the State of Washington and provides the State Government with revenue streams to pay for improvements in the state’s health system, University scholarships and better fire protection and policing services for the state’s residents.
  • More than 25 000 people are already employed in the Washington State Gambling Industry.
  • Gambling expansion in Washington State will assist in much-needed job creation in the Washington economy. Washington has defied nationwide drops in the unemployment rate to increase from 3.9% (April 2016) to rise to 4.8% (March 2018).
  • Further expansion in Washington State’s Tribal Casino Gambling could bring jobs, economic growth and prosperity to Native American communities in the Evergreen State.

History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in Washington

1933; Horse Racing Betting legalized.

1973; Charitable Gambling legalized.

1982; Washington State Lottery begins.

1992; Tribal Casinos open in Washington.

1997; Card rooms legalized in the Evergreen State.

2006; Online gambling made a felony in Washington.

2015-6; Online Poker Legalization Bill HB 1114 fails to pass State Legislature.

2017; Washington’s DFS Legalization Bill SB 5169 fails to pass.

2020: Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed into state law ESHB 2638, allowing for land-based sports betting only on tribal lands. However, due to further legal wrangling, a launch for sports betting in Washington has been delayed.

To read about Washington’s Online Sportsbooks and online sports betting laws Click Here