Washington state moving forward with plans to allow sports gambling

State gambling officials and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians have reached an agreement that would allow sports gambling to occur at Northern Quest Resort.

A tribal spokesman said Tuesday the move is one of the biggest developments for the Kalispel Tribe since it first got approval in 1998 to build Northern Quest.

"This is pretty monumental. This is a big deal," Kevin Zenishek, executive director of casino operations at Northern Quest, told The Spokesman-Review.

The Kalispels are one of numerous Washington tribes that have received preliminary approval to pursue sports gambling, said Brian Considine, legislative manager of the Washington state Gambling Commission.

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Sports betting at tribal casinos became an option after a 2018 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a 1992 federal law that banned commercial sports betting in most states, Considine said. Following that decision, the Washington Legislature last year passed House Bill 2638 to allow sports gambling at tribal casinos.

While the framework of the deals has been reached, all the tribal compacts must go through a series of state and federal approvals before sports wagering can start.

"I’d say the start of football season is the goal," Zenishek said.

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