The first day of the legislative session in Washington State saw the introduction of two bills, one covering online poker and one covering daily fantasy sports. The two bills are much like legislation that was introduced back in 2015 but did not move forward within legislature.
It is Washington State Representatives Sherry Appleton and Vincent Buys who created HB1114, a measure that would legalize and regulate online poker gaming within the state. This is a big deal as the state is one where playing poker online is banned specifically and taking part in the activity can result in a Class C felony charge.
Gambling in the state is considered being in violation of the law when a person knowingly transmits or receives gambling information via several methods, according to Section 9.46.240 of the state law, including the Internet.
HB1114 states that live poker has been an authorized activity for a long time within the state and with the Internet as a technological aid, poker can be conducted in a virtual environment, played from a computer or mobile device. The bill also suggests interstate compacts for sharing of player pools. The bill also does not contain a bad actor clause, a point of contention for states in the past looking to pass online poker legislation, including the state of California.
HB1301, is a bill focusing on daily fantasy sports that would have DFS earn a classification as a game of skill instead of luck. This measure is sponsored by seven representatives of the state, including Buys, the representative involved in the online poker measure.
The legislative session has just begun so it will be interesting to see how these measures are received within the state. It will be interesting to see if Washington State gains any footing when it comes to online poker legislation in the US, actually passing legislation and becoming the next state to join Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware as a provider of iPoker gaming.
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