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Introduction to Washington Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2020

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Washington slot machine casino gambling consists of 31 tribal casinos with a unique type of electronic player terminal based on scratch tickets controlled by a state-wide Tribal Lottery System (TLS).

All state-tribal compacts set a minimum theoretical payout limit. However, no return statistics are publicly available.

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This post continues my weekly State-By-State Slot Machine Casino Gambling Series, an online resource dedicated to guiding slot machine casino gambler to success. Now in its third year, each weekly post reviews slots gambling in a single U.S. state, territory, or federal district.

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Relevant Legal Statutes on Gambling in Washington*

The minimum legal gambling age in Washington depends upon the gambling activity:

  • Land-Based Casinos: 18/21 depending upon the casino
  • Poker Rooms: 18
  • Bingo: 18
  • Lottery: 18
  • Pari-Mutuel Wagering: 18

Washington’s player terminals at tribal casinos are based on the lottery’s scratch ticket games in electronic form. This unique form of slot machines makes Washington slot machines unique in the U.S. All other U.S.-based lottery terminals are based on draw lotteries, not from lotteries other game: scratch tickets.

Twenty-nine tribes originally negotiated tribal-state compacts to offer gambling at tribal casinos. However, the state and these tribes could not agree whether Vegas-style slot machines should be legal in Washington.

Scratch-based gaming machines resulted from early negotiations of these gaming compacts. This impasse resolution led to creating a secondary lottery system for player terminals at tribal casinos. The state lottery was a model for the TLS.

Draw-based terminals create tickets at the time of the bet using random number generators (RNGs). However, scratch-based terminals know in advance the result of each wager. Put another way, the outcome of each bet is pre-determined and do not require an RNG.

Another technical difference between lottery draw tickets and scratch tickets is how many of them can exist. For example, there are as many draw tickets as players are willing to buy. However, lotteries create only a limited number of scratch tickets but, hopefully, enough for a busy night at a Washington tribal casino.

All negotiated tribal-state compacts also have other legal restrictions for their scratch-based terminal-style slot machines. These limits have been expanding over time as part of this state’s dynamic gaming industry. The requirements are:

  • Allows replaying of credits won
  • No handles
  • No mechanical spinning wheels
  • A minimum payout return (see below)
  • $5 maximum wager on 85% on VLTs
  • $20 maximum wager on 15% of VLTs
  • Cap of 2,500 VLT machines per tribe

*The purpose of this section is to inform the public of state gambling laws and how the laws might apply to various forms of gaming. It is not legal advice.

Slot Machine Private Ownership in Washington

It is legal to own a slot machine privately in the state of Washington if it is 25 years old or older.

Gaming Control Board in Washington

The gaming control board is the Washington State Gambling Commission offering licensing, regulation, and enforcement of certain aspects of the gaming industry in Washington. Their regulatory responsibilities primarily include testing and approving new electronic gaming machines.

Further, each tribe with a casino in Washington has a tribal gaming agency (TGA). Agents of a TGA are the primary regulators at tribal casinos. At all times, at least one TGA agent must be on duty at a tribal casino.

Casinos in Washington

There are 31 American Indian tribal casinos and multiple cruise ships based in the state of Washington.

The largest casino in Washington is Muckleshoot Casino with 3,125 electronic gaming terminals.

The second-largest casino is Ilani Casino Resort with 2,500 electronic gaming terminals.

Commercial Casinos in Washington

The state of Washington has no commercial casinos with slot machines.

Tribal Casinos in Washington

The state of Washington has 31 tribal casinos:

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  1. Angel of the Winds Casino Resort in Arlington, 50 miles north of Seattle
  2. BJ’s Bingo & Gaming in Fife near Tacoma
  3. Chewelah Casino in Chewelah, 50 miles north of Spokane
  4. Coulee Dam Casino in Coulee Dam, 40 miles north of Seattle, owned by 12 Tribes Colville Casinos
  5. Elwha River Casino in Port Angeles, 70 miles northwest of Seattle
  6. Emerald Queen Casino & Hotel (EQC) in Fife near Tacoma
  7. Emerald Queen Casino (EQC) I-5 in Tacoma
  8. Ilani Casino Resort in Ridgefield, 25 miles north of Portland near the border to Oregon
  9. Kalispel Casino in Cusick, 53 miles north of Spokane
  10. Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, 23 miles north of Olympia
  11. Lucky Dog Casino in Skokomish, 23 miles north of Olympia
  12. Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel in Rochester, 26 miles south of Olympia
  13. Mill Bay Casino in Manson, 200 miles northeast of Seattle on the north shore of Lake Chelan, owned by 12 Tribes Colville Casinos
  14. Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, 20 miles south of Seattle
  15. Nooksack Northwood Casino in Lynden, 14 miles north of Bellingham
  16. Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights, 10 miles west of Spokane
  17. The Point Casino in Kingston, 18 miles west of Seattle via Bainbridge Ferry
  18. Quil Ceda Creek Nightclub & Casino in Quil Ceda Village, 30 miles north of Seattle
  19. Quinault Beach Resort and Casino in Ocean Shores, 90 miles west of Tacoma
  20. Red Wind Casino in Olympia
  21. 7 Cedars Casino in Sequim, 70 miles northwest of Seattle by ferry
  22. Shoalwater Bay Casino in Tokeland, 75 miles southwest of Olympia
  23. Silver Reef Casino Resort in Ferndale, 17 miles north of Bellingham
  24. Skagit Valley Casino Resort in Bow, 75 miles north of Seattle
  25. Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, 30 miles east of Seattle
  26. Spokane Tribe Casino in Airway Heights, 9 miles west of Spokane
  27. Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort in Suquamish, 15 miles west of Seattle via Bainbridge Ferry
  28. Swinomish Casino & Lodge in Anacortes, 70 miles north of Seattle
  29. Tulalip Casino in Quil Ceda Village, 30 miles north of Seattle
  30. 12 Tribes Casino in Omak, 165 miles northeast of Seattle, owned by 12 Tribes Colville Casinos
  31. Yakama Legends Casino in Toppenish, 20 miles south of Yakama

Other Gambling Establishments

As an alternative to enjoying Washington slot machine casino gambling, consider exploring casino options in a nearby state. Bordering Washington is:

  • North: The Canadian Province of British Columbia
  • East: Idaho Slots
  • South: Oregon Slots
  • West: The Pacific Ocean

Each of the links above will take you to my blog for that neighboring U.S. state to Washington.

Our Washington Slots Facebook Group

Are you interested in sharing and learning with other slots enthusiasts in Washington? If so, join our Washington slots community on Facebook. All you’ll need is a Facebook profile to join this closed Facebook Group freely.

There, you’ll be able to privately share your slots experiences as well as chat with players about slots gambling in Washington. Join us!

Payout Returns in Washington

The TLS directly controls the results of Washington’s unique terminal-style slot machines. TLS’ central computer system provides the outcome of each bet made on each terminal at the time of the wager. This off-site control extends to any bonus rounds.

All tribal-state compacts in Washington established a minimum theoretical payout of 75% for slot machines. Further, no return statistics for slots are available to the public.

Summary of Washington Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2020

Washington slot machine casino gambling consists of 31 tribal casinos with electronic scratch ticket video player terminal slot machines. The state-run Tribal Lottery System (TLS) controls the results of all bets offsite from the tribal casinos.

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Tribal-state compacts have set a minimum theoretical payout of 75% for their unique terminal-style electronic slot machines. No return statistics are available to the public.

Annual Progress in Washington Slot Machine Casino Gambling

Over the last year, Tulalip Resort Casino with its 2,400 gaming machines has dropped from second largest casino to third largest, replaced by Ilani Casino Resort with its 2,500 gaming machines.

Further, two tribal casinos have opened within the last year, including Kalispel Casino in Cusick located 53 miles north of Spokane and Spokane Tribe Casino located in Airway Heights a few miles west of Spokane.

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