Friday January 23,2015 : WASHINGTON STATE POKER BILL MAKING PROGRESS (Update)
Rep. Sherry Appleton's HB 1114 evaluated by Office of Financial Management
In a routine move applicable to new legislative proposals in Washington State, the state Office of Financial Management has published its fiscal notes on HB 1114, a measure seeking to legalise intrastate online poker introduced earlier this month by Rep. Sherry Appleton
If successful, Appleton's proposal would reverse an aggressive anti-online poker stance that has characterised Washington state for over a decade.
The OFM appears to have taken a very cautious and conservative view on the projected costs, estimating annual revenue at only $15 million. This estimate is subject to review and amendment as more detailed fees and charges are decided by lawmakers and regulatory advisers.
Implementation will take between 18 and 24 months after passage, the OFM estimates, which would indicate a possible operational launch around August 2017 should HB1114 pass into law.
HB1114 refers only to a "significant" fee to be extracted from prospective operators, which the OFM has refined to a possible $450,000, assuming a percentage of the annual predicted revenue is divided among the three card room networks proposed by the bill. That would work out at around $125,000 upfront and $25,000 a year for each network.
OFM figures predict the cost to the state of relevant testing equipment will be $10,000 in the first year and around $2,000 a year thereafter. Ten new staff positions at the state Gambling Commission would need to be created to cater for regulatory and enforcement activity.
Problem gambling oversight and counselling should be out-sourced, and five percent of fees reserved for this function, the OFM concludes.