Washington State Poker Regulation Bill Won't Be Getting A Hearing

Online Poker Bill HB 1114 Dead In Washington State

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It appears that internet poker regulation will continue to wait in Washington state, as HB 1114 has stalled, and will not be getting a hearing this session.

Responding to a constituent who commented on the bill, Rep. Appleton stated, “The bill did not get the support that I had originally hoped for and consequently we will not be moving forward with it this session.”

Maybe next year 

Getting our bill introduced has at least brought the stakeholders into the conversation. While we can take some satisfaction in that, it is hard not to feel this was a missed opportunity to replace the ridiculous felony prohibition of internet poker with sound regulations, and restore our freedom to play the game.

It is unfortunate that we had to get as far as a bill being introduced before the industry even looked our way. Had there been more support and involvement in the process during 2014, we could be having a hearing on a bill about now.

Will next year be different? 

While HB 1114 appeared, to many, to come out of the blue, it was actually the result of a great deal of work. Ignored by industry and most observers, the dedicated efforts of players pushed a bill to introduction.

But it will take a real lobbying effort to bring this to fruition, and, according to the Public Disclosure Commission web site, Amaya Gaming has engaged a lobbyist in our state.

This is a big step forward, and presents an opportunity to fully engage the tribes in the discussion. I am also hopeful the network approach we put forth remains the focus, so we are not dragged down by the endless cycle of territorial disputes, like we see in California.

Thanks to the players

Winning over opposition is daunting alone, but trying to build support from players and the industry itself has been a monumental task. I am very appreciative of the dozens of players who have stuck to the message and helped get it out to the masses.

We have demonstrated to players everywhere that a dedicated player effort is key to state-level efforts. Perhaps we have inspired players in other states to make the same effort.

Make no mistake, we took a huge step in the last year, and HB1114’s demise should not be viewed as a failure. It was just the beginning, and players must continue to make themselves heard by engaging in the process.

- Curtis is a recreational poker player from Seattle, WA who advocates for state ipoker legislation. He is the founder of the Washington Internet Poker Initiative and sponsor of Initiatives 582 and 583. Catch him on Twitter at @curtinsea and @ipokerwa (WIPI).
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