Online Poker Bill to be Introduced in Washington State

State Representative Sherry Appleton (D) of the 23rd legislative district prefiled an online poker bill this past Friday. HB 1114 is scheduled to be introduced on the first day of the new session, Monday.

The bill would reverse a law passed in 2006 that made playing online poker a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The introduction of the online poker bill is the result of the hard work of player advocate Curtis Woodard who has been leading grass roots efforts to decriminalize poker in the Evergreen State for the past two years.

Through regulation, proponents hope to help protect consumers from unscrupulous illegal operators. The bill would require authorities to “take enforcement action against those operating illegal internet gambling businesses within the state of Washington.”

Licenses would be available to businesses for the operation of online poker networks and another class of license for those that would run poker rooms or “skins” that operate on the internet poker networks.

The state gaming commission would be charged with the duty of developing regulations including the amount of tax to be charged operators.

In its current form there is no bad actor clause, meaning no potential licensees would be prohibited from participating based on their previous history of offering online wagers within the US.