Frequently Asked Questions

Sports Wagering

Is any type of sports betting legal?

In 1973, when the Gambling Act was first passed, 100 square sports pool boards were authorized. 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 illegal. See our Sports Wagering brochure.

How do I know if my sports pool is legal (RCW 9.46.0335)?

Sports pools are allowed under Washington State Law (RCW 9.46.0335) as long as the board is based on a single athletic event, the board is divided into 100 equal squares, numbers representing game scores are randomly assigned to squares, and you must charge no more than one dollar per square. Only one sports board is allowed per sporting event per business or party. Both businesses and individuals can conduct sports boards within strict limitation.

Can I bet on sports on the Internet?

No. For Washington State residents, all gambling on the Internet is illegal, including all types of sports betting. It's also risky, since many Internet gambling sites are operated from foreign countries with different laws. Players may not receive money even if they do win, and Washington residents have no legal way to claim their winnings from an online bet.

Is bookmaking (sports book) legal in Washington State?

No. "Bookmaking" means accepting bets upon the outcome of future contingent events, as a business or in which the bettor is charged a fee or "vigorish" for the opportunity to place a bet. This is illegal and would be considered professional gambling. Professional gambling statutes range from first degree (class B felony) to third degree (gross misdemeanor) depending on several factors, including the amount of money and persons involved.

Can I bet on my favorite horse?

Bets placed on horses follow different laws. For laws specific to betting on horse racing, please contact the Washington State Horse Racing Commission http://www.whrc.wa.gov/.

I won money on a sports bet but the bookie won't pay. What do I do?

If the bet was placed with a bookie or made in any other illegal way you have no legal recourse. However, you can anonymously report the bookie and other illegal sports betting activity you encounter to the Washington State Gambling Commission on the Report a Violation link.

What is the Washington State Gambling Commission?

The Washington State Gambling Commission is the agency that provides information to the public regarding gambling and enforces the gambling related laws in Washington State.

Sports Wagering brochure



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Page last updated 01/09/2014 11:13 AM
Washington State Gambling Commission

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