Washington, the evergreen state of Washington is known for many different things. The Seattle Space Needle is featured in movies and attracts visitors from around the globe since 1961. Washington has seven million residents and is ranked 13th in terms of population. Seattle is on the smaller side of states in terms of area.
Coffeehouses and volcanoes, apart from its natural beauty, are some of the distinctive characteristics of Washington, but also a favorable gambling view, something that exists since the 1970s.
Casino History in Washington
The casino development in the state has been consistent since 1971, when bingo and raffles were approved. The next year, 1972, brought the approval of lottery, while over a decade later, in 1988, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was approved.
This Act recognized the right of Native American tribes to have casinos on their lands, upon successful agreement with the state government. Given the history and connection of Washington and Native Americans, casinos started appearing at a fast rate.
Not everything went smoothly with the IGRA though, as in 1988 an agreement wasn’t reached about slot machines being covered by the Act. 6 years were necessary for both parts to fill a consensual lawsuit, in 1994, in order to make clear which devices were permitted under Washington laws.
Finally, in 1997 a decision was made by the court saying that the Washington state didn’t have to approve slot machines, which lead to the creation of machines similar to the state lottery or the video lottery terminals used in another states. Practically, it’s hard to see a difference between those and slots.
Currently using this system, Washington has over 27.000 slots, distributed by 27 casinos that are operated by 21 different tribes.
Types of Gambling Found in Washington
There are several different ways to play in Washington. There are more than thirty different casinos to choose from. Within the state, lawmakers are eligible to create their own age restrictions. Some casinos allow players in at 18, others require players to be at least 21 or over to sign up and play, many times due to the sales of alcoholic beverages. Casinos in Washington range from Vegas style casinos to just rooms with a few gaming styles within them. Washington offers just about every kind of gaming style within casinos including Texas Hold’em and electronic games like slots and video poker. Other forms of gaming here include parimutuel betting on horses at age 18 and charity bingo as well as a lottery which all starts at just 18.
Most US states allow online gambling to exist in a legal gray area, but others are where gaming sites are already regulated (Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey), and still others that are working in that direction, like New York or Pennsylvania.
Washington has followed another direction in what online gambling is concerned: it’s a felony to do it, something that it’s even extended to sports betting. In a state where gaming has a strong history, it is surprising this hard decision from the government, or it might be just a way the state has found to protect the land-based casinos and corresponding tax revenues on $3 billion dollars, being that $2.2 billion are from tribal casinos.
Gambling online in Washington is, therefore, a risky activity that should not be realized under the risk of having the police knocking at your door.
Curiosity: The largest casino in Washington is the Muckleshoot, offering over 3.000 slots, dozens of table games, poker and keno, among others. Eight restaurants, six bars and being an entirely non-smoking casino make it appealing for most visitors. Known as “The Muck” it’s owned precisely by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and being located on reservation lands close to Tacoma and Seattle contributes for its popularity, being a preferential destination for many visitors.