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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Washington State Lawmaker seeks to Change Internet Gambling Ban

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Last year, the Washington state legislature made it a class C felony to play poker, play craps, bet on football, or in any other way gamble on the internet. This was the most stringent and specific anti-internet gambling legislation to date, and carried the potential for serious penalties. Other class C felonies in Washington State include making threats on the life of the governor, possessing child pornography, drug dealing and child molestation. Now, State Representative Chris Strow, a Republican from Whidbey Island is seeking to change this law.

"There's a certain point at which policy can be perceived as ‘nanny stateish.' I think we reached that point with last year's legislation and I'm aiming to make amends," said Strow. His legislation, House Bill 1243, seeks to eliminate the felony charge language in last year's legislation addressing in-home internet gambling. This would not make it legal to gamble online in Washington, but it would also not seek to imprison online poker freeroll players.

"My goal with this legislation is to correct an element from last year's online gambling bill, Senate Bill 6613, that made it a Class C Felony to gamble recreationally in one's own home if it is done online," said Strow.

"While I do see the need for protecting our citizens from online gaming that may be scamming innocent victims, I do think that there is also a level of accountability, as an adult, to do as he or she chooses in his or her own home," said Strow. "Most certainly choosing to gamble, or play a game of skill such as poker, should not have been made a crime equivalent to possessing child pornography or threatening the Governor."

House Bill 1243 is currently awaiting a hearing in the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

"While I have requested a hearing on the bill, people need to call and write the Chairman of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, Representative Steve Conway, and ask him to schedule a hearing for House Bill 1243," said Strow. Rep. Conway can be reached at (360) 786-7906 or Conway.steve@leg.wa.gov

*Gambling911.com was a source for this article.*

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