Sunday February 24,2013 : WASHINGTON TO RETAIN OVER-THE-TOP ONLINE GAMBLING PENALTIES (Update)
Harris bill dies in committee
Hopes that legislators in Washington state would take a more realistic approach to the state's draconian punishments for online gambling were dashed Thursday when Representative Paul Harris announced that his attempt to amend the punitive statutes had died in committee.
Our readers may recall that Harris recently proposed an amendment to a 2006 state law that makes internet gambling a C-class felony with similar penalties to those imposed for very serious criminal offences. He proposed reducing the severity of the offence to a civil infraction carrying a $50 fine.
However, after two days of hearings, his amendment was turned down by the House committee on government accountability and oversight, although some legislators thought rather encouragingly that the amendment should go further, completely decriminalising online gambling in the state.
However, it appears these more progressive lawmakers were in the minority, because the bill was allowed to die in committee.
The Poker Players Alliance, which strongly supported Harris' move, played the failure as a qualified success, saying it laid the groundwork for another and more extensive attempt to be made in 2014
Representative Harris said that committee members had "…some concerns on clarity and requested a few minor fixes, but due to the short amount of time before cut-off we will have to wait until next year's short session to get this passed.”
He did, however, say that the road was still open for a further attempt, albeit in a year's time, and opined that online poker would at some stage in the future be legalised in the state.