Washington State has some of the toughest laws against gambling in the US however Bill HB 1114 could change all of that and actually make it one of the more online poker friendly states in the US. The bill has been introduced by Rep. Sherry Appleton however much of the work and the wording on that bill comes from Curtis Woodward of the Washington Internet Poker Initiative, who states that, “For too long, the state has taken a harsh stand against, and then turned a blind eye to, internet poker, this state allows us to play poker in Tribal casinos and licensed card rooms, but considers us felons if we play from the privacy of our homes on our computers.” Woodward puts forward the usual argument of players playing at offshore sites while the state loses potential revenue.
The simple bill is for online poker only and at this stage does not include a bad actor clause, and would license at two different levels, the consumer and the network operators, with taxes to be decided upon by the Washington State Gambling Commission. It’s a straightforward and no nonsense type of bill that gives existing card rooms and tribes access to a potential new player base, and it may get some traction, however we’ll have to wait and see exactly how much.
Elsewhere in regulated US online poker, there is at present little action regarding states attempting to join Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. As has been the case for many years, the state most likely to regulate online poker is that of California, however even if a bill does pass this year, it would be 2016 before a card would be dealt. There have been tentative moves in New York, but we’ll get nothing more than a hearing at the most and while during 2014 there was movement in Pennsylvania toward regulation, a lack of progress has slowed things down to a halt. There are no murmurs of anything at all at a Federal level, and it does appear that during 2015 will see very little progress.