A Pro-Poker Grassroots Organization has filed two separate petitions to legalize and regulate online poker in the state of Washington.
The organization, led by Curtis Woodward, hopes to gain 300,000 signatures for the petition and bring the two measures to the legislature by 2014. In addition to the petition, the organization has initiated relationships with state lawmakers to promote the initiatives and encourage the construction of one within the legislature. A third option for these initiatives will be a November ballot vote, although the ballot will be limited to one proposal. .
The two proposals provide the regulation and legalization of online poker within the borders of Washington State. Initiative Measure 582 (I-582), otherwise known as the Washington State Internet Poker Act(WSIPA) of 2014, aims “to authorize the play of real money internet poker, to direct the Washington state gambling commission to license operators providing internet poker, and to regulate licensed operators’ activity within the state of Washington”.
Initiative Measure 582 (I-582) also outlines the exact specifications of the regulation for online poker in the state. It requires that the licensed poker operator to segregate funds, complete transactions within three days, have experience in electronic gaming, and have a physical location within the state. The player pool will be limited to those who are 21 and over and a problem gambling disclaimer must be clear on the site.
The second initiative (I-583) addresses the current criminalization of online poker in the state of Washington. This initiative would essentially decriminalize the play of online poker in the state, although it would not regulate it. Currently, online poker is considered a Class C felony in Washington State and is comparable to the crimes of third degree child rape. Convicted felons are subject to nearly 5 years in jail and appropriate fines. This law was intended to protect the land based casinos in the state, but has been viewed as an overly protective law, considering the legislation of poker around the world and in three current states.
The website for the grassroots organization can be found here: http://waipokernow.blogspot.com/