Tuesday February 12,2013 : A MORE REALISTIC LOOK AT ONLINE GAMBLING IN WASHINGTON STATE?
Will the state reconsider its over-strict punitive laws against online gamblers?
The state of Washington has long been considered one of the most overbearing and unfriendly places for the ordinary online punter, despite the fact that state politicians and governors have actively encouraged almost every other form of gambling possible.
Since its imposition in 2006, the state's draconian anti-online gambling laws have not only empowered it to prosecute players, but defines the offence as a class C felony, with penalties of up to five years jail time or $10,000 in fines – not dissimilar to those imposed for possessing child pornography, threatening the governor or torturing an animal!
Unless, of course the online wagering is on a horse race, where as is the case elsewhere in the USA, it has been made an exception to the general rule.
Past challenges to the law mounted by brave souls like lawyer Lee Rousso have met with failure in the state's highest courts.
However, hope is on the horizon this week with the news that Republican state Representative Paul Harris has introduced legalization seeking to change the nature of the offence from a felony to a misdemeanour, and reduce the punishment applicable to players to $50 as a statutory "civil infraction."
Harris's proposal does not extend to "….enterprises that derive income from operating an internet web site that transmits or receives gambling information.”
Harris represents District 17 and has done so since 2011. He has served on several state House of Representatives committees involved with the environment, health care and wellness, health and human services appropriations and oversight, and technology, energy and communications.
It's early days yet for the Harris initiative, however – he's still trying garner political support for his proposal.