Washington Looks To Pass Online Poker Legislation

Washington Looks To Pass Online Poker LegislationPlaying online poker in the State of Washington is considered a “Class C felony” and while the law has never been enforced, any player caught still faces the prospect of up to five years behinds bars and a $10,000 fine. That draconian situation may be about to change, however, if House Bill 1114 introduced by Rep. Sherry Appleton at the end of last week gains enough votes in the legislature.
There are currently 74 live poker rooms scattered across Washington state, and Appleton’s bill calls into question the logic of permitting live poker, but criminalizing the same game when it is played online. Acknowledging that Washington residents still continue to play online, and that the internet continues to play an increasingly important role in their lives, Bill 1114 states:
“To better protect the people of Washington from potential danger from, and to maintain oversight of the systems used to carry out Internet poker, the legislature finds it to be in the interest of the people to establish a regulatory framework by which entities, as authorized by the Washington state gambling commission or a tribal regulator, may offer poker games to players within Washington state over the internet.”
In addition to being a poker-only bill, the piece of legislation carries no apparent “bad actor” clause, aims to cover the cost of regulation by introducing a licensing fees, and allows for a liquidity-sharing deal with other states. This last proviso is extremely important as since Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada introduced legislation of their own, revenues have fallen significantly below initial forecasts, and the need for individual states to pool their players has become a matter of great importance.
Other US states currently considering regulation include New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, and while California has also introduced online poker bills in the past, internal conflicts between the Golden State’s disparate gaming interests have so far prevented any such legislation from being passed.

Other news:   Multi-state online poker compact bill introduced in Pennsylvania

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