Washington’s Decriminalization of Online Poker Will Have to Wait

February 26, 2013

A Washington State proposal that would decriminalize Internet poker, downgrading it to a mere civil infraction, has been delayed. Earlier this month, State Representative Paul Harris introduced the legislation, but no says fellow lawmakers have concerns.

Poker Players Alliance VP Rich Muny wrote on 2+2 online poker forum that Harris said that it won’t be until 2014’s short session that this law amendment gets passed.

The terms of the new bill would reduce online poker participation from a felony to a “class 3 civil infraction.” Under Washington law, this charge would only hold a max fine of $50 and statutory assessments instead of prison time of up to five years and a maximum fine of $10K. Internet gambling was outlawed in 2006 in Washington, when lawmakers classified it as a Class C felony.

Harris’ statement suggests that a broader bill would be introduced in the next legislative session and has been assured that the bill will be taken much more seriously in the next session and be given more consideration. In a statement he made last week to the Washington House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee, Harris said online poker could generate revenue as high as $400 million.

He states, “I will not give up on this bill, this will be a priority for me. Do not be discouraged, it was an important step to even have this bill heard. We WILL get online poker legal again in Washington State.”

Muny reaffirms that the PPA strongly supports this step towards “complete repeal of the egregious penalty.”


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