Betting limits and casino hours will increase on six Indian reservations, despite legislators’ resolve last year to hold gambling to its current level.
On Wednesday, the Washington State Gambling Commission approved raising maximum betting limits to $500 from $100 and expanding hours of operation to 140 hours a week from 80 hours.
The changes bring state agreements with the six tribes - the Hoh, Nisqually, Skokomish, Elwha S’Klallam, Muckleshoot and Quileute - in line with agreements made with nine other tribes earlier this year.
The new compacts do not allow slot machines or book making, as do Nevada operations.
However, some legislators said they felt betrayed by Gov. Mike Lowry and the Gambling Commission after Lowry decided in January to increase gambling limits to their current level. The Legislature had agreed last session to hold gambling in the state to its present limits.
In all, 21 tribes in Washington have casinos or plan to build them.
The degree to which states can regulate gambling on reservations is being argued in federal court.
The changes agreed to by the tribes and the Gambling Commission include the following:
The current limit of 32 tables will increase to 52 after six months of trouble-free operation.
Betting limits will immediately go from $100 to $250, then to $500 after six months.
Hours will immediately increase from 80 hours per week to 112 hours, then to 140 hours after six months.
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