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Washington Gambling Laws

The legality of various means of gambling, including regulations for how such games are to be operated, is controlled at the state level. While many states have banned gambling altogether, dog racing, horse racing and casino gambling on Indian reservations remain popular throughout the country.

Washington State Gambling Laws

Washington gambling laws allow licensed casinos on Indian reservations only, while also allowing licensed horse racing and certain games used to raise funds for charitable organizations.

Is Workplace Gambling Legal In Washington?

Yes, workplace gambling has been legal in the state of Washington since 1973. However, the rules are pretty stringent, so pay close attention. You are only allowed to gamble in your workplace in a number of very specific, narrow instances known as "sports wagering."

Here are just a few of the rules you need to follow:

  • You are allowed to have one (1) sports pool board for a specific event.
  • The board must be divided into 100 squares.
  • You can charge up to one dollar per square, so at the most, your pool can be worth $100.
  • Each purchaser signs his or her name on their purchased square.
    The pool is closed prior to the athletic event, and a prospective score is assigned by random drawing to each square.

Keep in mind, this is the only type of sports betting allowed in Washington State. Bracket pools, office sports pools, and fantasy sports have never been authorized as gambling activities in Washington State and are considered illegal.

Who Enforces Gambling Laws?

The Washington State Gambling Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating all authorized social gambling activities in the state, except for horse racing and the State Lottery. They investigate and control unauthorized and illegal gambling activities and co-regulate Tribal gaming activities pursuant to agreements between the Tribes and State.

The following table identifies the practices allowed by Washington's gambling laws, with links to additional articles and resources.

Code Section 9.46.010 et seq.; 67.16.010 et seq.
Gambling Staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or future contingent event not under the person's control or influence, upon an agreement that someone will receive something of value.
Horse Racing/Off-Track Betting Licensed horse racing and parimutuel wagering allowed.
Dog Racing/Off-Track Betting Wagering on greyhound races specifically prohibited.
Casinos Allowed? Tribal gaming pursuant to Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and maintenance of licensed gambling facilities allowed. Gambling devices otherwise prohibited.
Other Kinds of Gambling-Related Activities Allowed or Banned Bucket shops; bunco steering; bookmaking; professional gambling illegal. Bingo, raffles, amusement games sponsored by charitable organizations; fishing derbies; sports pools; golfing and bowling sweepstakes; turkey shoots; social card games; promotional contests legal.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Washington gaming attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Washington Gambling Laws: Related Resources

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