Washington State Representative Proposes Changes to State Online Poker Laws

Paul Harris is a state representative in Washington State and Harris recently proposed a new bill that will change the punishment for online poker game play. On Monday the new bill was introduced and if passed, will decriminalize online poker in the state. According to a report by PokerFuse, online gambling in Washington State is a felony and has been for over six years now. With the changes, the penalty would be changed to a ‘class 3 civil infraction’.

The piece of legislation states that the penalty would be reduced to ‘class 3 civil infraction’ and a maximum of $50 in fines as well as statutory assessments would be owed. The proposal applies to only those who gamble online ‘solely for the defendant’s own enjoyment and not as part of an enterprise that derives income from operating an internet web site that transmits or receives gambling information.’

Back in 2006, lawmakers in Washington decided to outlaw online gambling and made poker a Class C felony which is equal to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. It is believed that the law was created to protect casinos which were run by Indian tribes located in the borders of the state, but for now, this law needs to change.

Hopefully, the bill will be able to make the much needed changes in the state. According to PokerFuse, the office of Harris, the state representative is currently searching for co-sponsors and will have about two weeks to have a hearing on the new bill. Several states are on the move making changes to poker legislation and hopefully this will be a step in the right direction, no matter how small. We will continue to follow the movements of this proposal and report information as it is released.


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