The Strictest State on Online Gambling in the USA
Online casinos 2

Washington State has nearly 30 land-based casinos, dozens of card rooms, and recently legalized in-person sports betting. However, online gambling remains strictly prohibited, not allowing online casino games or bets. Luckily, there are legal ways to play the latest online casino games and claim exciting rewards. Read our guide to find out more.

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Compared to the other states in America, Washington State has some of the strictest rules around online gambling. Online gambling is strictly prohibited, and anyone caught playing or operating would face serious charges. If there is one state you don’t want to attempt gambling online in, it’s Washington State. 

There have been attempted bills in favor of online casinos, but nothing seems to come from them. Because of this, we don’t expect to see the best online casinos in Washington State for quite a while. 

Even sweepstakes online casinos must follow strict rules and regulations, limiting the selection of available options compared to other states. In our guide to online casinos in Washington, we’ll explore the details, the history, and the possible way forward.

Are Online Casinos in Washington Legal?

No form of online gambling, including sports betting and online casinos, is legal in Washington. Any company offering real money online casinos will be charged with a Class C felony. The same punishment applies to any person caught gambling online, which includes up to five years imprisonment and up to $10,000 fine.

Offshore online casinos in Washington continue to cater to players and attempt to avoid the law. However, you have to ask yourself, if they are avoiding federal law, what guarantees do you have that these sites would provide safety, fairness, and honor withdrawals?

Are any Types of Online Casinos in Washington Legal?

Washington is strictly against online gambling, which is defined as wagering real money on games of chance. Therefore, both sports betting and online casinos are illegal. However, sweepstakes online casinos are legal as you won’t use real money on games.

Sweepstakes online casinos use the website currency to provide entertainment on real casino slots, table games, and live dealer games. While you might not wager real money, you’ll earn sweeps, which players can use to redeem cash prizes and gifts.

When will Washington Legalize Online Casinos?

Considering the strict laws regarding online gambling in Washington, it’s unlikely that the state would permit online casinos anytime soon. Should the laws ever change, we predict it would be among the last states to permit online play.

Washington is one of the few states that apply limitations to sweepstakes online casinos, which don’t provide real-money gambling. Furthermore, WA is located far away from any state with legal online casinos, which means residents are unlikely to travel to other states for access to online casinos.

Brief Gambling History in Washington

Washington has a long history of resisting gambling. It has one of the strictest 19th-century laws against gambling (particularly for a Western state). As indicated in the following timetable, while Washington is incredibly strict, lawmakers are reasonable and permit some forms of gambling.

  • 1889: State constitution prohibits all gambling.
  • 1933: Betting on horse racing legalized.
  • 1971: Legislature authorizes bingo and raffles (quickly repealed by Superior Court)
  • 1972: Counties allowed to approve casinos by a 60 percent vote of the Legislature or voters.
  • 1973: Pull tabs, bingo, raffles and “Las Vegas Night” fund-raisers legalized.
  • 1974: Card rooms legalized.
  • 1982: State lottery authorized.
  • 1988: Native American casinos authorized by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
  • 1997: Nontribal card rooms authorized.

In March 2020, Washington legalized sports betting but also applied strict regulations that only permitted bettors to place a wager while at one of the tribal casinos.

Sweepstakes Online Casinos in Washington

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Sweepstakes online casinos are the only form of legal online gambling in Washington, and the only way they manage to pass is becuase you won’t use real money. Of course, there are benefits to these social casinos, including the benefit of redeeming your sweep coins for cash prizes.

Since online casino laws in Washington are very strict, not all sweepstakes online casinos are permitted to provide gaming services. Luckily, some of the best brands are available, offering top-rated casino games ranging from slots to live dealer games.

RankSweepstakes Online CasinoWelcome Reward
1.BetRivers.net10 to 1,000 VC$
2.Rush GamesVC$500

In which States are Online Casinos Legal?

Each American state has the freedom to legalize online casinos, and in 2013, the first regulated sites were launched in New Jersey. Multiple other states in the east of the US have followed, offering access to the best online casinos in America.

Closest State with Online Casinos from Washington

To access online casinos from Washington, you’ll need to travel well over 2,000 miles across the country. The closest state with legal online casinos is Michigan, which is a 33-hour drive. Of course, a flight would be a much better solution.

Registering your account and claiming the welcome bonus before you arrive in a state with legal online casinos is entirely within the law. While you’ll have access to your account and details, accessing games for real money will only be permitted when you’re in the state, which also applies to airport layovers.

Land-based Casinos in Washington

There are 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington State. Each of them has a gaming compact.

All Indian casinos in Washington offer:

  • blackjack
  • craps
  • roulette
  • slots
  • video poker
  • pull tabs

Optional games offered include:

  • baccarat and mini-baccarat
  • poker
  • pai gow poker
  • Caribbean stud poker
  • three-card poker
  • ultimate Texas hold em
  • four card poker
  • Spanish 21
  • big-6 wheel
  • keno
  • off-track betting 
  • bingo

All Washington casinos are affiliated with Indian Tribes, and all have compacts with the state, allowing them to offer live table games and electronic ‘scratch’ ticket games, which use a finite number of tickets with a predetermined number of winners and losers.

These video gaming machines have a maximum bet of $20. The Tribes are not required to release percentage payback information on their slot machine. However, according to the terms of the compact between the Tribes and the state, the minimum prize payout for electronic ‘scratch’ ticket games is 75%.

Online Casinos are Unlikely in Washington

Online casinos in Washinton are still at least a few years away due to the strict regulations and limitations on gambling. The fact that no other states around Washinton have legalized online casinos also places no pressure on lawmakers as residents are unlikely to travel for online gaming.

As mentioned earlier in our guide to online casinos in Washinton, no form of gambling is legal, not even sports betting. On the bright side, Washington has legalized in-person betting but strictly prohibits mobile betting. We expect to see online sports betting become legal before Washington would consider online casinos.

Frequently asked questions

No, online casinos are strictly illegal, and anyone caught participating in online gambling will face strict punishment, including up to six months imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
Offshore online casinos in Washington avoid the law and, therefore, cannot be trusted to provide fair games, reliable payments, or security measures that protect your personal and financial details.
While most are restricted, Sweepstakes online casinos in Washington that follow the rules are legal and safe to join.
It's unlikely for Washington to legalize online casinos anytime soon, especially since all forms of online gambling remain illegal. Furthermore, no surrounding states have legal online casinos, placing Washington under no pressure to change the law.
No, online gambling in Washington is strictly against the law.
All forms of real money online gambling in Washington are illegal. Therefore, only social and sweepstakes online casinos that qualify are permitted.