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Washington State Bill Would Reduce Online Gambling Charges

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Update 2/22: The bill has died in committee. Here’s a statement from the bill sponsor:

Statement from Representative Paul Harris
HB 1824, which would have reduced the penalty for playing online poker from a Class C Felony to a Class 3 Civil Infraction had some great responses from committee members when it was heard on Tuesday. They had some concerns on clarity and requested a few minor fixes but due to the short amount of time before cutoff we will have to wait until next year’s short session to get this passed.

I have been assured that this bill will be heard again and given serious consideration in the next session. 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.

A special thank you to all of those who gave testimony and wrote emails in support of this bill. I hope your cards (and this bill) are always live.”

Paul Harris
State Representative
17th Legislative District

Original story below

A bill introduced yesterday in the Washington legislature proposes to trim the charges residents could face for “recreational” online poker & gambling.

The bill (HB 1824), titled Reducing the penalty for a person conducting unlawful internet gambling in his or her primary residence for recreational purposes (catchy), had its first reading yesterday.

If passed into law, the penalty for recreational online gambling (as defined by law, see below) would be cut from from a class C felony to a class 3 civil infraction.

The bill seeks to add the following language to Washington state code:

(2) Whoever knowingly transmits or receives gambling information over the internet or knowingly installs or maintains equipment for the transmission or receipt of gambling information over the internet, in his or her primary residence for recreational purposes, commits a class 19 3 civil infraction under chapter 7.80 RCW. For purposes of this HB 1824 subsection, “recreational purposes” means solely for the defendant’s own enjoyment and not as part of an enterprise that derives income from operating an internet web site that transmits or receives gambling information.

Read the bill in full and track related actions here.

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Chris Grove
- Chris is the publisher of OnlinePokerReport.com. Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.