It was a pretty good bet that the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort would be a hit – especially since it opened two months ago just in time for the Super Bowl and now for March Madness.
“People are really eager to come in to do sports betting just because it’s such a brand new thing obviously here at our casino and also in the state of Washington,” said Ashley Manchester, marketing manager for Port Madison Enterprises.
For March Madness – the huge 68-team college basketball tournament – the sportsbook extended its hours last weekend for the first and second rounds to ensure it was open for the duration of all the games. Typically, it is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays.
For those hoping to bet on local favorite Gonzaga, you’re out of luck as it is prohibited to bet on any in-state collegiate athletics, something Manchester said is protocol for all tribal casinos in Washington.
The sportsbook’s initial kickoff was the Super Bowl in early February when a big crowd came out to see what all the fuss was about. The casino also opened the event center for viewing as about 150 people came and watched for free. Manchester said a huge number of bets were placed for the big game.
UFC fights every weekend have also been a huge draw for the sportsbook. People can come and watch the fights for free instead of having to pay a hefty Pay Per View cost.
“It’s still early to tell what the normal volume of guests is going to be at the sportsbook,” Manchester said. “Definitely for some of those bigger events we’ve seen really big crowds. We got a couple of big golf tournaments (Masters, U.S. Open) coming up so we’ll see what that does. Before we know it, it’s going to be NFL season again. That’s going to be a busy time, and we’re really looking forward to being open for the full season.”
The layout of the 2,000 square-foot sportsbook features three live betting windows, club chair seating, 12 self-serving betting kiosks and 17 TV screens, including a 32-foot-wide by 9-foot-tall high-definition video wall. Additionally, there are three kiosks in the Beach Rock Music and Sports Lounge, which features 11 TVs, including a 24 1/2 foot by 11 1/2 foot screen and seating for over 250 people.
“That facility is right off the casino floor next to the table games, Manchester said. “The staff that works there is also our Keno staff. They can help you with sports betting and also help you with Keno as well.”
There are so many types of sports betting, including straight betting, moneyline, spread betting, proposition betting, live betting, half and quarter betting, futures, parlays, round robins and teasers. Refer to clearwatercasino.com/sportsbook for descriptions of all the betting. Manchester said straight bets and parlays have been the most popular.
“Those have a really high upside if you get them all right,” she said of the parlays. “There’s all kinds of stuff you can do both at the live betting window and the kiosks. The kiosks are extremely user-friendly.”
As of now, there is no phone or tablet app that you can use for the sportsbook. Bettors have to physically come to the casino to place their bets. “Sports betting is still not legal in the state of Washington,” Manchester said. “You can only place sports bets at the (tribal) casinos that have been approved by the state and Gaming Compact.”
Manchester said they are attracting people from all over – even outside of Kitsap County where people don’t have a nearby place to bet on sports.
“We do get people that normally wouldn’t come here prior to the sportsbook opening,” Manchester said. “That’s the draw for them to come in. This is kind of what we call a new way to play.”
She added partnering with FanDuel is a plus, as it’s the No. 1 sportsbook in the country. “It was important for us to have a really good partner that already had a name and presence within the sports betting world.”
While people are excited to try a new kind of betting and engage in a new way of watching sports, Manchester reiterated that responsible gaming is at the “forefront of our operation in general.”
“Responsible gaming is something we take really seriously,” she said. “That’s across everything we offer, not just sports betting. We have the resources to be able to help those individuals.”