Washington is a pro gambling state with lots to offer. There is a good mix of tribal and private commercial casinos providing all the usual table games and gaming machines. In addition, card rooms for table game players and poker players are legal.
Washington Online Gambling
Unfortunately, Washington is extremely clear in its stance on gambling online. Many US States remain vague in their legality of online casino activities whilst Washington is clearly opposed.
Article II Section 24 states that all gambling activities are considered illegal unless they have been specifically approved. Online casino activity has not been specifically approved and therefore is considered illegal.
In fact, in 2006, the state raised the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony which can result in jail time of up to five years and/or a $5,000 fine.
In 2010 the Poker Players Alliance challenged the law in the Supreme Court, stating that it was unconstitutional. The State won unanimously with a vote of nine to zero.
Therefore Washington remains one of the strictest US States in prohibition of gambling online.
Having said this, there have been no reported instances of the law being enforced and therefore you will find that many licensed offshore online casinos will accept Washington residents. (You could say playing online casinos is the equivalent of jaywalking).
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The Evergreen state offers a wide range of gambling options which can be broadly split into: tribal casinos, state lottery, card rooms, pull tabs, horse racing and bingo.
The largest revenue generator for the state is derived from tribal casinos Tribal casinos are governed by the Federal compact of the Indian Government Regulatory Act (IGRA) that came in effect in 1988. Tribal casinos are permitted to offer the widest of gaming in the state, compared to other gambling venues. The games on offer at tribal casinos include:
- Blackjack – $500 max.
- Baccarat – $500 max.
- Pai Gow – $500 max.
- Slots (*)
- Pull tabs
- Horse racing
(*) In 1994 the Federal Court deemed the offering of slot machines as illegal at tribal casinos. Tribal casinos therefore developed bingo machines which behaved similar to slot machines i.e. they had predetermined winning patterns just like bingo but turned over much faster. All machines are checked by the Washington State Gaming Commission (WSGC) to ensure compliance with the IGRA Class II requirements and integrity for the protection of players.
Licensed card rooms can be owned by either private operators or by tribes
(existing tribal casinos can participate in licensed card rooms in addition to their casinos if they wish). Card rooms are the third largest revenue generator for the state behind the lottery. They were legalized in 1974 initially offering poker only for players who could rent a position at the table. Games permitted were only between players only, none were against the house. In 1997, the laws changed to allow player vs house with a maximum of 15 tables. The change in laws also allowed for the following table games:
- Pai Gow
- $500 max. – tribal card rooms
- $300 max. – non tribal card rooms
The change in laws in 1997 also allowed tribal card rooms to run slot machines, video pull tabs, keno and bingo. (Non tribal card rooms remain excluded).
There are numerous venues to play bingo in Washington, and I mean big, huge venues that draw many players together. Bingo is making a resurgence across the country, and it’s evident in Washington.
Along with the traditional bingo resurgence in popularity, Washington Online Bingo is following suit. The number of players playing online is trending upwards, growing day by day. Using similar functionality of group chatting, the younger generations are becoming the driving force of online bingo.
We highly recommend giving bingo a go!
The Washington State Gambling Commission’s official position is that all forms of online gambling are illegal in the state. Compared to many other jurisdictions, Washington has on the one hand, very regulated, and on the other, some of the most permissive gambling laws in the country (sports betting and online gambling aside.)
Overview of Washington Casinos
Washington has 97 casinos in which you’ll find more than 33,139 slots and gaming machines. There are a total of 1,127 table games.
The minimum age for gambling at a casino varies, for some it is 21 while others it is 18.
In the following paragraphs, GambleDex reviews some of the top Washington Casinos.
2402 Auburn Way South, Auburn, Washington
3,125 video gaming machines await including slots, progressives, and video poker from all the top Indian casino providers as well as the names and games you will find in any Las Vegas casino. Table players will find all of their favorites as well form classic Vegas games to new and exciting variants with 75 tables to choose from and 32 poker tables. Huge selection, great service.
With over 3,000 video gaming machines, every type of game is pretty much covered. Housed in a non-smoking, cozy venue, players will love the excitement of these games! Join up to the Players Club and earn points that will entitle you to food discounts and player credits.
Are you a blackjack fan? How many variations of blackjack have you played? At Muckleshoot they have: Down Under Blackjack, Lucky Ladies, Spanish 21, Lucky Stiff Blackjack, Free Bet Blackjack and Super Fun 21. If this doesn’t satisfy your blackjack desires, then no where can!
Are you a poker fan? Just like blackjack, there are so many variations on offer. They include: Ultimate Texas Hold’em, WPT Heads Up Hold’em, Crazy 4 Poker, Three Card Poker and High Card Flush.
Other table games include: pai gow, EZ baccarat, roulette, and craps.
There are so many games available, you will get lost with the choices. If you are new to many of the games, you need not worry. At Muckleshoot they have beginner guides and lessons to teach you how to play. It’s really fun and the staff are awesome with teaching you the rules and intricacies of each game.
They’ve got it all here. High class restaurants and bars that serve quality food and beverages. Restaurants include the sophisticated, Asian, Italian, and buffet and steakhouse, the down to earth pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and chips, and sandwiches, candy and dessert bars. There is everything you would want here. There are three bars, BSB & Raw Bar, Club Galaxy and The Corner Bar. They serve, local and imported beers and ale, micro brewed craft beers, cocktails – every drink you can think of!
The Muckleshoot Casino is operated by the Indian Tribe – Muckleshoot. Established in 1995, the location is known for the Cascade foothills, the Cascade ranges that is encased with an abundance of natural beauty, rivers, lakes, streams and rolling hills. The Muckleshoot tribe has a long standing history in Washington, and has contributed greatly to the prosperity of the State, through supporting and funding community projects.
Angel of the Winds Casino Hotel
3438 Stoluckquamish Lane, Arlington, Washington
Angel of the Winds Casino is located at 3438 Stoluckquamish Lane in Arlington, Washington. The casino covers over 100,000 square feet and offers over 1,000 slot machines and 15 gaming tables. This casino has so much to offer. The payouts are great.
Progressive jackpots, reels and reels of games, they have got the classics, the new and the popular. They variety of themes and the range of denominations is simply amazing. The venue is non smoking and there are also high limit games.
Table games aren’t as varied as other casinos, but they still offer the popular: craps, pai gow, 21+3, roulette and baccarat.
Love your keno? They have 8 spot, 7 spot and 6 spot.
Riverside buffet – dig in to one of the best buffets in Washington. Create your desired dishes using the freshest of ingredients. On offer is also Mexican, Asian, seafood, prime ribs, lobster tail…. the list goes on and on.
Want to quench your thirst? Then head to the 210 Brewery Co. Offering the best local crafted ale: Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, Brown Ale and Golden Ale. Perhaps you like sweeter drinks, go for the local seasonal ciders.
Burgers, fish and chips, sandwiches. Something simple yet special is delivered by Katie’s Kitchen. Grab your comfort food and go if you’re in a hurry, but also if you looking to relax and chill hang out at Katie’s Kitchen for that casual experience.
A new massive three level parking lot has been created. You will find no problems finding parking at Angel of the Winds! If you have an RV, you will need to register at the hotel to obtain a license and spot.
Other Key Points
- Telsa owners, you will be happy here. There are 4 Tesla Destination Chargers and 16 Tesla Super Chargers.
- Other electric vehicle owners, you too will be happy. There are 6 level 2 charging stations.
- The nearby Hotel houses 125 suites, there are package deals available, look for the special deals!
Swinomish Casino & Lodge
Swinomish Casino, 12885 Casino Drive, Anacortes, Washington
Today visitors will find a casino floor spanning over 70,000 square feet that features 900 slots and video poker machines, 15 gaming tables, a poker room, bingo hall, keno lounge, and four restaurants. Restaurant offers great food, wonderful setting and excellent service.
There are simply too many slot to list out at this casino. The favorites are here, the new, the traditional, the quirky, the simple. All the games, and with great progressive winnings. Interlinked and stand alone. The variations are numerous and you will never get bored.
24hrs seven days a week of table games are available – blackjack, craps, roulette, keno and pai gow. Throw on top of that, everybody’s favorite – Keno!
The ambiance at 13 Moons is simply stunning. Cozy, warm, loving, you are surrounded by natural beauty in a lodge, but still have the luxury and fine dining that is the best. Exquisite seafood, fresh, delicate and refined. Top it off with the quality of their assortments of wine.
The tradition American cuisine can be found at Carver’s Cafe. Sandwiches, burgers, fresh salads, juice, breakfast and desserts.
Want gourmet hamburgers? Then you’ve got to go to Fatburgers. A fantastic selection of quality burgers or you can have custom made. These juicy burgers cannot be missed.
Extremely affordable yet tasty is the Manchu Wok. Fried rice, steamed vegetables, steamed rice, noodles, sweet and sour pork, kung pao chicken. Price ranges from $5 to $8. You can’t beat these prices!
Yakama Nation Legends Casino
580 Fort Road, Toppenish, Washington
Located in the serenity of the valley, enjoy the local wine while playing a few hands of blackjack a the Yakama Nation Legends Casino. Spanning over 65,000 square foot, the casino floor holds over 1,500 slot machines, 30 table games, keno, a poker room, and four restaurants. The best casino to get away for a day.
Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel
12888 188th Avenue Southwest, Rochester, Washington
The casino offers a 75,000 square foot gaming floor with over 1,000 slot machines in smoking and non-smoking areas, 15 table games, poker, Keno, and Bingo. Staff goes above and beyond providing the best experience.
Tulalip Resort Casino
10200 Quil Ceda Boulevard, Tulalip, Washington
The best casino that Washington has to offer and by far the most popular. Tulalip Resort Casino offers over 2,000 slot machines, 59 gaming tables including 20 poker tables, as well as bingo & keno. Poker room is decent size and you are generally seated in 15-20 mins.
Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort
15347 Suquamish Way, Suquamish, Washington
The 22,500 square foot Suquamish Clearwater Casino in Western Washington is brimming with 1280 slots, and almost 28 table games, 6 poker tables, wheel and card games. In addition to tfhe standard Las Vegas choices of roulette, craps, and blackjack, you can find bonus side bets on many games that can pay out big. Top Notch service.
Little Creek Casino Resort
91 West State Route 108, Shelton, Washington
The casino offers 63,000 square feet of gaming space with over 1,000 slot machines, 25 table games, poker, bingo, Keno and a first class Hotel. Clean rooms great food and great drinks.
Under Washington State Law – S9.46.235 – owning a slot machine is permitted in the spirit of possessing a machine as an “Antique”. An antique is defined as a slot machines that is 25 or more years old. When possessing an Antique Slot Machine, it is illegal for the owner to profit from the use of the slot machines through gambling. Any use of the slot machine must be for free, or coins are provided by the owner to the player to operate.
The Washington Gambling Commission governs and regulates the laws for owning a slot machine. If you are found in breach of the law, the Gambling Commission can impose fines of up to $125 and/or instruct you to perform community service.
Horse racing is an industry that is losing its appeal across the country, with many other forms of entertainment becoming more attractive. What used to be thriving, Washington now only has several live race tracks. The most popular remains Emerald Downs, one of the most exciting venues to place a bet on live horse racing from April to September. Available are also off-track betting terminals placed throughout the state.
The Washington Horse Racing Commission is the governing body that oversees the horse racing industry in Washington.
2300 Ron Crockett Dr, Auburn
Emerald Downs was established in 1996 replacing the Longacres Racetrack which closed in 1992. On opening Emerald Down held its first 100 day meet from September through to November. Original investors included a consortium by Ron Crockett, who eventually sold out to the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe in 2002. Since transfer of ownership, several new facilities and renovations took place to develop the racetrack.
The race track is a one mile oval made of synthetic turf. There is no real turf on the race track at all.
It is technically legal to bet on sports but the window of opportunity is extremely narrow. Defined in the Washington gambling laws as “sports wagering”, Players are only permitted to place a bet on a maximum $1 square of a 100 square sports board for one game. Therefore the total value of sports pool cannot exceed $100. All sports wagers must be placed prior to the commencement of the sport event. All others forms of sports betting are deemed illegal.
But change is occurring, albeit very slowly. 2019 is the second year in which the debate continues for legalization in Parliament. Discussions focus on key points such as: limiting sports betting to tribal casinos or extending to other casinos and operators, online accessibility and geo fencing, loss of revenue to bordering states such as Oregon and in game play. It is highly unlikely that these discussion points will be resolved any time soon.
On a positive note, it has been agreed that the Washington Gambling Commission will have overarching responsibility for sports gambling.
Washington State Lottery is officially named “Washington’s Lottery”, unusually a very casual name for a government body that oversees a significant high revenue generating stream for the state. The lottery was founded in 1982 and offers a variety of draws, instant win, lottery and scratch tickets. Among all the US States, it uniquely is the only lottery that offers a real lotto game! In the past they have offered special adhoc raffles along with their staple products. In 2007 375,000 raffles were sold at $20 each.
Embedded in the law for running the lottery, is that each game can only be drawn once a day.
- Mega Millions
- Hit 5
- Daily Keno
- Daily 3
- Match 4
6 Most Popular Washington Gambling Options for 2020
The latest data is out for gambling turnover in the State of Washington – the Evergreen State, and it is showing a steady and expected trend for the year 2020.
A quick summary of the gambling landscape of Washington:
- Gambling is dominated by 27 tribal casinos all spread out almost evenly throughout the state.
- Not all of these casinos are the Las Vegas style that we know of – many are small with only a handful of slot machines.
- Washington does have one mega casino resort that is comparable with the glitz and glam of Vegas, and it is huge!
(Please note, these slot machines aren’t your LA Vegas style slot machines, but rather the Class II Slot machines).
- Alongside tribal casino betting is the heavy weight State Lottery. Powerball and Mega Millions continues to show amazing popularity in the state.
- Cardrooms is uniquely legal in Washington, and it too is showing strong popularity.
- Horse Racing with its lengthy but volatile history in this state remains a stalwart. But competition from other forms of betting remains fierce. Plus the capital investment in horse track and facilities is intensive. It remains to be seen whether horse racing will hold in popularity.
- Finally, Online Casinos continues to draw many Washington players. It remains solid, not growing nor diminishing.
- On a side note: Sports betting remains illegal and unlike many other US States there is slow movement, if any at all, towards legalization.
We will now breakdown the projected popularity of Washington gambling for the year 2020. We use the projected gambling turnover, as stipulated by H2GC.com, in their collation of of data. The data is not definitive, and by no means detailed, but at a high level it is indicative of how the overall Washington betting scene is playing out.
1. Tribal Casinos – $35 billion!
It is projected that turnover will increase to $37 billion in year 2021. Tribal Casinos continue to draw the largest gambling turnover in the state.
You may be surprised that tribal casinos turnover $35 billion. This is a massive amount, but is understandable given that nearly all forms of casino table games are permitted. And they also allow off-track betting on the horses.
Games at tribal casinos include: blackjack, roulette, baccarat, poker, pai gow, sic-bo, keno and off-track betting on the horses. Slot machines are class II as mentioned previously, and continue to also be a crowd favorite.
With such a large part of the gambling market, you can understand that tribal casino operators are hesitant to make any further changes to gambling laws, such as legalizing sports betting. Why make a change, when the nothing is broken
2. Washington Card rooms – $265m
Washington is one of only a few states that permits card rooms, and it is the second most popular form of gambling in the state.
Card rooms are not run by tribal organizations. They are permitted to be operated privately and commerically only. There are approximately 30 card rooms that are legally permitted to operate through the purchasing of license from the Washington State Gambling Commission. No taxes are required to be paid from profits in the card rooms and therefore makes operating card rooms are great business. Case in point, the Maverick Gaming Company (a private company) owns 18 card rooms, more than half the card rooms in the state.
3. Lottery Games – $235m
Lottery games in Washington are operated by the Washington’s Lottery. It has a variety of games that are very popular. Their games include:
- Mega Millions
- Hit 5
- The Daily Game
- Match 4
Powerball – $77m
Powerball draws in the most revenue of all the Lottery games. At $77m it is comparable with the turnover of the horse track betting in the state. Though, I dare say, that Powerball is much more profitable than the Horse’s given that there should be less infrastructure demands.
Mega Millions – $59m
At a significant $18m behind Powerball, comes Mega Millions. It still provides a significant turnover of $59m, but no where near as popular as Powerball.
4. Horse Racing – $72m
Emerald Downs continues to turnover approximately $72m in past three years. The forecast does fall in the coming years, which may be due to the risk of changing online gambling laws and the potential legalization of sports betting. Horse racing facilities are quite capital intensive, economic downturn can jeopardize horse betting turnover, but given the strength of the US economy, this is low risk.
Suns Downs, the smallest of all race tracks in the country, is expected to turnover $0.5m for the year. A small player in the Washington gambling scene.
5. Washington Online Casinos – $68m
Online casino gambling laws remain ambiguous in the State. Therefore online casino betting turnover remains solely from offshore online casinos. The past three years have seen stable gambling turnover. Online casino remains a popular form of betting in the state, but falls behind the tribal casinos, cardrooms, lottery and horse racing.
6. Bingo (Charitable Gaming) – $25m
The most popular form of charitable gaming is bingo which comes in at a very respectable $25m for the year 2019. It is projected to remain stable, which is amazing given the increase in change in gambling laws throughout the country. Bingo is considered a light form of gambling and has fallen in popularity with the advent of social media.
Washington Gambling for 2020 is forecast to be robust
The Washington Gambling remains most popular with the tribal casinos. With over 27 casinos scattered throughout the state, most Washington residents can easily visit to play a game or two.
Card rooms come through at a far second, but is slowly becoming dominated by one private company through acquisition.
Lottery and Horse Racing remain stable, though horse racing industry across the country is losing popularity. It doesn’t show in the state of Washington, but time will tell.
Rounding out the top 6, is online casino betting and bingo. Offshore online casinos continue to accept residents and visitors in Washington, and bingo remains the most popular form of charitable gaming.
Washington's Gambling Laws Interpreted by a LawyerPermitted forms of on-site and limited offsite gaming and gambling include licensed horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering, social betting and games of skill at licensed casinos operating on Indian reservations, bingo games, raffles, fundraising and charitable gambling, fishing derbies, sport pools, golfing and bowling sweepstakes, turkey shoots, social card games, and promotional contests. In contrast, the following activities are prohibited: dog racing/off-track betting, bucket shops, bunco steering, bookmaking, professional gambling, bracket pools, office sports pools, and fantasy sports gambling. See Rev. Code Wash. §§ 9.46.010 et seq. and 67.16.010 et seq.
Sports Betting: Like many states, Washington legislators introduced bills in 2019 to re-regulate online sports betting to licensed tribal casinos (HB 1975) and on-site licensed horse tracks (HB 1992). The former remains in committee after passing the Senate while the latter was not approved. As of now, sports betting in Washington state remains illegal and most platforms do not accept sports bets from Washington residents. Individuals interested in placing sports bets in the future should take careful note to follow any pending Washington legislation, which may soon make it legal to place bets on sports matches online at tribal casinos. Note that unlike sports betting, in-person sports pool betting is specifically authorized pursuant to Rev. Code Wash. § 9.46.0335. Race Betting: Like in many states, horse betting is legal in Washington at its racing tracks as well as other venues that allow simulcast pari-mutuel betting, and many licensed online race betting platforms operate in the state, including TwinSpires and TGV. Rev. Code Wash. § 67.16.010 et seq.
Online Gambling: All internet gambling is illegal in Washington state except for social gambling. Rev. Code Wash. § 9.46.0269. Individuals residing in Washington have no legal recourse to collect winnings from a bet placed online if not paid by the bookmaker. The penalties are the most draconian in the nation, with individuals who participate in such online gambling potentially facing Class C felony charges pursuant to Rev. Code Wash. § 9.46.0225.
Online Poker & Gaming: Gaming, including the making of online bets on oneself in a game of chance, are permitted, and the U.S.-based WorldWinner permits bets on games of skill from Washington residents.
Disclaimer: The information in this multi-state research is made available by a licensed, U.S. attorney, and is for informational purposes only. We make no representations that the information is complete or correct in its entirety. It should not be construed as providing specific legal advice, and you acknowledge that no attorney/client relationship exists between us. This brief should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed gambling and entertainment lawyer in your state.
- Wikipedia: List of casinos in Washington.
- Washington Casinos with RV Parking
- List of Washington Casinos that allow 18+ to gamble