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Are Washington State Casinos Open

author
Elaine Sutton
• Saturday, 07 November, 2020
• 8 min read

There are 29 federally recognized tribes in WashingtonState and all 29 of those have Class III gaming compacts. Twenty-two tribes operate 29 casinos under compact.

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Contents

Class III Games may include: Blackjack, Red Dog, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat (mini, midi, and full size), Pie Go Poker, Sicko, Big 6, Chuck-a-Luck, Poker (Class III), Keno, Off Track Betting, and Electronic Tribal Lottery Terminals. Other Gaming Activities may include: Bingo, Mega Mania Bingo machines, Rocket Bingo machines, Pull-Tabs, Progressive Pull-Tabs, Poker (Class II), Tab Force Pull-Tab Readers, Flash cash Bingo machines, and Wildfire Pull Tab machines.

5984 N. Dark Lane Bow, WA 98232 Licensing staff members are available to assist licensees and the public by phone and email, during normal business hours.

To expedite processing, we encourage all new applicants and licensees to use our online services in Account. Outdoor wardrooms are permitted in Phase 1 of the Governor’s “Healthy Washington plan.

WAC 230-15-545, requires that if a house-banked card game licensee interrupts card game operations for more than seven days, the licensee must receive written approval before resuming operations. We urge you to notify us at least five business days in advance of your planned reopening, or as soon as possible to make arrangements for the on-site inspection.

Please review the checklist to ensure a smooth and speedy transition prior to setting up your temporary structure. You need to email us stating you have received all your permits from your local jurisdiction before we issue approval for you to operate the wardroom in your temporary structure.

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Will card rooms be allowed to place additional card game tables on the gaming floor if the number of players per table is reduced due to social distancing restrictions? WAC 230-03-270 allows for a new card room employee applicant to work after a ten-day waiting period and before receiving a license.

Under specific circumstances, and upon paying the waiver fee, a CRE may work before the 10-day waiting period. The WashingtonState Gambling Commission (SGC) recognizes the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted our stakeholders.

We are working with tribes to identify areas where we can provide relief when it comes to gaming compact obligations. The areas we’re addressing include deadlines for payments and employee certifications.

If your license expired while gambling facilities were closed, the renewal period will be extended to 30 days after public venues are allowed to re- open to the public for entertainment, social or recreational purposes and onsite consumption of food and/or beverages. Late fees may be assessed after that date, but waivers will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If a licensed business is closed, it should apply for a late fee waiver as soon as possible. Your first and second quarter 2020 reports and fees must be received by the 45th day after public venues are allowed to re- open to the public for entertainment, social or recreational purposes and onsite consumption of food and/or beverages.

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The second ½ of your quarterly license fees are due by the 60th day public venues can re- open to the public for entertainment, social or recreational purposes and onsite consumption of food and/or beverages. Failure to pay your fees and submit your report to us as outlined above could result in administrative action against your license.

All reporting requirements for items listed below are suspended until 30 days after public venues can re- open to the public for entertainment, social or recreational purposes and onsite consumption of food and/or beverages. House-banked card room and nonprofit licensees required to file financial statements and annual reports during the state of emergency (February 29, 2021 through the end of the state of emergency, which has yet to be determined) under the following Was are automatically extended an additional 60 days.

We will allow nonprofit licensees to have a negative cash flow, as outlined in WAC 230-10-375, for the fiscal year that includes the state of emergency (February 29, 2021 through the end of the state of emergency, which has yet to be determined.) Based upon the current COVID-19 environment, we understand that raffles, fundraising events and recreational gaming activities will need to be postponed.

As a result, licensees may submit a written request to change the date of an event, without penalty or fees during this time. For raffle drawing date changes, send your request to Jim Nicks at jim.nicks@wsgc.wa.gov.

For fundraising events and recreational gaming activities, send your requests to licensing@wsgc.wa.gov. We recognize the need for the tribes and licensees to get certain products approved and installed at their facilities in order to keep their electronic gambling equipment and/or systems stable and compliant with WAC, RCW, or Tribal- State compacts.

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Effective September 21, 2021, the WashingtonState Gambling Commission’s Electronic Gambling Lab will be opening on a very limited basis in order to accept and test any submissions that could prevent system failures, correct non-compliance in the field, are deemed emergency fixes by the Independent Test Lab, or are SGC mission critical. If a manufacturer is unsure whether their submission meets the criteria above, please contact the Lab Administrator, Melissa Chicane, at melissa.chicone@wsgc.wa.gov to discuss the submission, process for setup (should a licensee need access to the lab) and submittal.

Upon arrival, all licensees will be asked questions related to health conditions that they will need to answer prior to being allowed to enter the lab. If the response to any of these questions leads the screener to believe there is a COVID-19 risk based on public health factors/symptoms established by our state and local public health authorities, this person may not enter the lab and will need to reschedule for a later date.

Licensees will be required to wear a face covering the entire time they are in the SGC lab. Our staff members continue to process public disclosure requests, but requestors may experience delays while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

An agent's supervisor may authorize personal contact if it is deemed essential to our operations. Your first quarter 2020 report and fees must be received by the 45th day after public venues are allowed to re- open to the public for entertainment, social or recreational purposes and onsite consumption of food and/or beverages.

Can I get a refund of my license fees if I’m forced out of business due to the ban? Generally speaking our new fee restructure removes the refund option.

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However, if licensees cannot make deposits upon closing then we will not count the days of closure due to the Governors proclamation. Operators may submit a written request to change the date of an event, without penalty or fees during this time.

If the nonprofit organization is closed, they should temporarily remove their pull tab games from play and ensure they are secure. New pull tab games and cash banks should be secured as they normally would be to ensure the games/funds are protected.

However, it is recommended that each card room secure chips and cash to limit their risk of burglary during the business closure. The WAC rules do not require a staffed surveillance room when the licensee is closed for business.

However, surveillance must be recording during the closure if drop boxes or chip trays are stored on the gambling tables (WAC 230-15-265). You may also remove the entire locked chip rack with a proper Table Inventory Slip and secure them in the cage or soft count room.

Can BCR’s get an extension on the reporting requirements for illegal activity just prior to the ban? Activity can be reported 24 hours a day via email or voice mail.

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