Thursday March 21,2013 : NEW ATTACK ON WASHINGTON STATE'S DRACONIAN ONLINE GAMBLING LAWS (Update)
Internet poker player Curtis Woodard spearheads new community initiative
The infamously draconian Washington state law and over-the-top punitive measures against online gamblers – the most aggressive in the United States – are again under attack, according to Facebook postings by local player Curtis Woodard.
Woodard describes his campaign for a more reasonable and sensible approach to the pastime as:
"A player-based effort to amend WA State law to allow us the freedom to play internet poker from the comfort and privacy of our homes."
In a recent progress report on Facebook, Woodard says that two initiatives have been filed with the Secretary of State, and are on their way to the Code Reviser for review.
"I should have that review by the end of next week, and at that time will make any revisions necessary," he reveals.
"And so begins the battle. We need everyone who loves the game of poker, and all those who believe we should be free to play, from the State of Washington, to get on board with this effort and let's make it happen!"
The respected poker information site Pokerfuse has given Woodard's effort some space, reporting that his efforts include an attempt to get the issues onto the state ballot for 2014 through proposals titled the Washington State Internet Poker Act of 2014 and the Internet Poker Player Decriminalization Act 2014.
The latter's title describes its intention to remove the act of internet gambling from the "felony" category in Washington state, which carries punitive measures usually reserved for far more serious crimes against the person.
It's a move that has recently also been attempted in the state Legislature where it failed due to a lack of political support.
Once the language of the proposals has been finalised, Woodard and like-minded local players will buckle down to create a grass roots campaign that they hope will receive strong support from the Washington player community, enabling them to secure a spot on the 2014 general election ballot.
Woodard's target for player community support is 300,000 signatures, which should ensure that his proposals go before the state Legislature. The lawmakers can adopt the proposals as state law, amend the proposals and give the voters a choice or take no action, in which case it will go to the November 2014 ballot.
“As we spend the year gathering signatures, we will also be meeting with legislators to gather support in advance," Woodard told Pokerfuse.
"I will also be meeting with leaders of the big tribal interests, as I am working hard to get their support. It is my goal to have generated enough support so that even if we don’t meet our signature goal, the legislature will take up the issue anyway.”
The Woodard initiative has an exclusively poker thrust, seeking to legalise intrastate online poker under the licensing and regulation of the Washington State Gambling Commission.
The campaign is likely to require substantial input and activity from Washington state poker players on a voluntary basis, mainly to drive the petition aspect.
Woodard is also working on a powerful social communications approach through Facebook, a website due for launch soon and a Twitter account @OlympiaChange.
This is an opportunity for long-suffering Washington state online players to make their voices heard, and the initiative is likely to be strongly supported.