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Washington State Holds Off on Decriminalizing Online Poker

A proposal to make online poker a civil infraction instead of a class C felony in the state of Washington has been delayed until next year.

Rep. Paul Harris had attempted to amend a 2006 law that makes playing poker over the Internet punishable by up to five years in jail and fines up to $10,000. He hoped to knock the punishment down to a $50 fine for recreational players, similar to a parking violation. But his fellow lawmakers were not prepared to support the measure due to limited time prior to a legislative recess.

A post on 2 + 2 by Poker Players Alliance Vice President Rich Muny quotes Harris as saying that the bill will be considered more seriously in the future. The lawmaker has vowed not to give up and has set an ultimate goal of Washington State eventually legalizing online poker.

Washington is seen as the second most stringent state in railing against online gambling. Utah, which prohibits all forms of gambling whether live or online, is the strictest. The felony statute in Washington was enacted almost seven years ago in an effort to protect the revenues of tribal casinos.

The PPA and Harris are working in tandem to effectuate change in this preposterous law and will introduce a more comprehensive bill in the next legislative session.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.