Snoqualmie Casino on Thursday became the first in Washington State to open a sportsbook — right in time for the start of the NFL season.
The tribal casino, which is partnered with International Game Technology (IGT) as its operator, planned to begin welcoming sports bettors into its book at 11 a.m. Pacific Time, with KJR-950 reporting that former Seattle Supersonics star Shawn Kemp would be placing the ceremonial first bet. While the casino’s CEO, Stanford Le, told KOMO News that the tribe expects to offer geofenced mobile betting next month, for now it will only accept cash wagers at four sportsbook windows and six additional kiosks located throughout the casino.
The launch was one of three in the U.S. on the first day of the NFL season — six Arizona operators launched digital platforms plus two retail locations, and BetMGM took the first bet in South Dakota at its Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort and Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort. Like Washington, South Dakota is legal for in-person wagering only.
🇺🇸 A historic day in sports betting history as Arizona, South Dakota, and Washington markets go live!
This marks the first time ever that three states have launched on the same day.
Check out every legal sports betting state in our interactive map. 👇 https://t.co/9clGY6F143
— American Gaming Association (@AmericanGaming) September 9, 2021
Since IGT was the first operator to be licensed by Washington, the Snoqualmies were expected to be the first to open a sportsbook. But the speed with which they were able to open is quite impressive given that they, along with eight other tribes in the state, just got federal approval for their compacts last week. (Seven more tribes are awaiting approval.)
New suppliers and vendors approved
Since the start of this month, four more suppliers and vendors have been licensed, although it’s not clear which tribes they have as partners. Geocomply Solutions, Sportradar Solutions, Sports IQ Analytics, and U.S. Integrity approved in September. Washington’s sports betting industry will be operated exclusively by Native American tribes on tribal land — which means no statewide mobile, at least for now.
The time has come sports bettors!! Snoqualmie Casino Sportsbook officially opens tomorrow, September 9th at 11AM! We can’t wait to share this experience with you! pic.twitter.com/JulD0n9zWV
— Snoqualmie Casino (@SnoCasino) September 8, 2021
“Today’s commencement of sports betting at the Snoqualmie tribe’s casino marks an important milestone in the progress that Washington State’s tribes have made in regaining their self-reliance,” said Rebecca George, executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association, in a statement. “The launch of sports betting is going to provide a real boost for tribal communities that are still working to recover from the tough impacts of COVID shutdowns. And the positive benefits will extend well beyond tribal communities themselves. Tribal gaming revenues not only fund critical services for long-underserved tribal communities, those revenues also bolster the overall economies of communities across Washington State.”
After Thursday’s 11 a.m. opening, the Snoqualmies’ sportsbook will be open from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday; and 7 a.m.-11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. That said, bettors may place wagers at the six kiosks outside the sportsbook 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is no indication of whether users can get special betting bonuses for using these terminals. Per the tribe’s sports betting Q&A, the difference between what someone wagers and the amount of cash they insert into a kiosk will be spelled out on a ticket that the machine dispenses. This ticket can then be redeemed at the cashier’s cage for cash.
Speaking to The Seattle Times about his tribe’s ability to go live before Thursday’s Bucs-Cowboys tilt, Le said, “The timing was just right, the fervor for football season. This is making history. So having a natural time frame, the kickoff of the NFL season and the kickoff of our sportsbook and being the first in Washington all just made a lot of sense.”
Aside from being first to the party, the Snoqualmie Casino has the advantage of being the closest to the city of Seattle and its populous suburbs east of Lake Washington.
According to a BetMGM press release, the company’s new sportsbook has big-screen televisions, teller windows, and kiosks. Some kiosks are also available in other locations on the property. As of today, only retail wagering is available, but BetMGM plans to introduce an on-site mobile option, pending regulatory approval.
South Dakota is the 16th state in which BetMGM is live.
Voters in South Dakota legalized sports betting in Deadwood only on the November 2020 ballot.
— Cadillac Jack's Gaming Resort (@cadillacjacksgr) September 9, 2021
With additional reporting by Jill R. Dorson