While arguably the driving force behind the felony ban on Internet poker in Washington State (and the biggest obstacle to changing that law) there are indications that at least some of Washington State’s gaming tribes are looking at online poker in a different light.
This year, two Washington tribes have gone live with free to play online gaming sites.
In March of this year, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation inked a deal with Nevada-based Bally Technologies to provide its iGaming platform and a free2play poker site is up and running at this time.
Bally Technologies was the first in the nation to receive an online gaming license when the Nevada Gaming Commission approved them in June 2012.
Meanwhile, the Snoqualmie Casino became the first Washington tribe to go live with a free play online gaming platform. The Play4Fun platform offers casino style games plus, an 888 Holdings-powered poker product for desktop computers as well as iOS and Android phones and tablets.
The 888 platform is the same as used by WSOP.com, which recently went live with the nation’s second regulated real money poker site.
While real money gambling is not being conducted on these two sites at this time, the sites do represent a significant investment on the part of these tribes. That they will seek real money play at some point is a naturally drawn conclusion.
Washington’s tribes carry much influence in the state capitol, and directing that influence – and money – in favor of Internet poker would be a game changer.
What this means for players in the state of Washington remains to be seen. But it should give the State’s poker players, and those across the nation, plenty of reason to keep an eye on the 2014 legislative session in Washington.
That session will begin on January 13th.