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Washington regulator agrees gaming compact amendment


The Washington State Gambling Commission has reached a tentative agreement with the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe to amend the Class III gaming compact for the Tribe’s gaming operations in the US state.

The proposed amendments include a number of new provisions to provide new and expanded gambling opportunities for customers at the Tribe’s Snoqualmie Casino, as well as increased promotion of responsible gambling and increasing the Tribe’s contributions to the community.

Among the proposed changes are to permit the Tribe to run a maximum of 125 gaming tables at any single gambling facility, or a combination of two facilities. Some 25% of tables would be able to offer up to $1,000 wagers and a limited number of tables could accept bets up to $5,000 after customer screening.

This amendment would also allow the operation of 3,000 player terminals in one gaming facility or a combination of two facilities, with maximum wagers of up to $30 on these machines.

Other changes set out under the tentative agreement include the addition of near-field communication (NFC) devices, EMV or smart cards or similar secure payment technologies for approved customers.

In exchange for these operational improvements, the Tribe would work with the state to expand and maintain its ongoing responsible gambling program. This would include providing additional funding for problem gambling treatment and community impact and charitable contributions.

In addition, the agreement proposes an update to jurisdiction provisions, adding relevant criminal laws, a framework to review and approve a wide-area progressive connected to the Tribal Lottery System.

Other changes would be delayed until six months after the Problem Gambling Task Force completes its report on the new agreement.

“The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe agrees to updating several provisions in their nine-year-old compact in the proposed amendment; those provisions include revising forms of payment, high limit room, extensions of credit, and wide-area progressive jackpots,” Commission chair Bud Sizemore said.

Snoqualmie Tribal chairman Robert De Los Angeles added: “The negotiated amendments to our Gaming Compact will significantly improve the guest experience at the Snoqualmie Casino.

“But, equally important, the amendments reflect the Tribe’s commitment to working with the State through continued investments in responsible gambling and increased funding that the Tribe invests in the community through our charitable and community impact funds.”

Now that an agreement has been reached, the proposed amendments will be put to Washington Governor Jay Inslee, as well as legislature and other lawmakers in the state for further discussion.

The Senate Labor, Commerce and Tribal Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on February 1, followed by the House Commerce and Gaming Committee on February 4.

The Commission will vote at its public meeting on March 11 and decide whether to forward the proposed compact amendment to the Governor. Should the vote go in favour of the amendment, it would also require the approval of Tribal chair De Los Angeles.

After obtaining the signatures of the Tribal chair and Governor, the amendment will be sent to the Secretary of the US Department of Interior for consideration, signature and, potentially, publication in the Federal Register.