Another tribal casino in Washington state is offering sports betting online as of this week.
The Silver Reef Casino Resort, run by the Lummi Nation, launched retail sports wagering thanks to a deal with Betfred Sportsbook.
Washington does not have online sports betting, nor does it offer the best online casino options, and can only look on for now at the revenue being generated in states with one or both forms of wagering.
The Silver Reef Casino Resort is in Ferndale, about 100 miles northwest of Seattle and about 50 miles southeast of Vancouver, British Columbia.
The sportsbook at Silver Reef, run by Betfred, opened on Wednesday, according to a Betfred news release.
“We are extremely excited about opening and operating the sportsbook with our partner Betfred,” Silver Reef Casino Resort CEO Marty Sauvage said in the release. “The sportsbook will be a fantastic new amenity for our guests and will enable us to continue delivering the premier gaming and resort experience in the Northwest.”
The casino also has more than 1,000 slot machines, 16 table games and 206 hotel rooms.
Betfred, a UK-based sportsbook operator, is licensed in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana and Pennsylvania as well as Washington.
In 2021, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law to make legal Washington sports betting a reality, but only in person at tribal casinos.
In states that have sports betting – and more than half the states in the nation have legalized it since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down PASPA in 2018 – mobile wagering has far surpassed any other method, just as online shopping has revolutionized commerce.
Meanwhile, Washington has offered retail options only, and has done so in dribs and drabs. There are 35 casinos run by Native Peoples in the Evergreen State but no commercial casinos. In May, three casinos added sports betting in Washington but none are near Seattle, which is the home of the state’s NFL, NHL, MLB, WNBA, Major League Soccer and National Women’s Soccer League franchises.
Those three casinos are all under the auspices of Colville Gaming LLC.
The closest facility for Seattle-based sports fans to place their bets is the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort, which partnered with FanDuel Sportsbook to offer sports wagering in February.
Other western states serve as perfect examples of what could be in Washington. Neighboring Oregon, which switched from the lottery-run Scoreboard app to national operator DraftKings as the sole provider in January, saw that move pay immediate dividends as the state set a record for sports betting handle (amount wagered) in April at $42.9 million.
But that handle, from a single-operator state, is a drop in the bucket compared to states that launched sports betting more recently with robust, competitive online markets that offer multiple well-known operators.
Arizona began offering sports betting in September 2021 and quickly established itself as a top-10 market, with handle peaking at $691 million in April, almost all of it online (there are only a small number of retail options in Arizona). Colorado is another relevant case – of the amount wagered, which topped out at $573.7 million in January 2022, 98% to 99% each month there is wagered online.
Arizona (population 7.3 million) and Colorado (5.9 million) both have fewer people than Washington (7.9 million) and both have similar sports markets, with Seattle only lacking an NBA team compared to Phoenix and Denver. So it’s easy to speculate that the Evergreen State would pull sports betting numbers at least as impressive as Arizona and Colorado if it had a true mobile sports betting market.
As for online casino, six states have legal, regulated iGaming with popular options such as online blackjack, roulette and poker. The bad news for Washington residents is that they’d have to travel quite a way to participate: Those states are West Virginia, Delaware, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.