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Washington Online Poker Bill Fails To Advance

Like Last Year, Legislation Deemed Dead By Mid-February

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Real-money online poker regulation appears off the table in the state of Washington for 2016, as a bill aiming to legalize and regulate the games failed to advance past a Wednesday legislative deadline.

House Bill 1114 was introduced last month by Representatives Sherry Appleton and Vincent Buys. It isn’t surprising that it didn’t gain momentum. The online poker bill was up for consideration last year, but it didn’t go anywhere. Like this year, the bill was deemed dead by mid-February and never received a hearing.

Under Washington law, it is a crime to play online poker, though no one has ever been prosecuted there for the activity. The state has also considered repealing that law.

The deadline passing was first reported by Chris Krafcik of GamblingCompliance.

California, New York and Pennsylvania are all considering online poker this year, but the state with by far the best chances of enacting legislation is Pennsylvania. The state appeared on the verge of passing a bill last year, but the proposal was put on hold until this spring.

Though a New York Assembly committee recently approved an online poker bill, regulation of the games in the Empire State doesn’t appear imminent. The state has a handful of new brick-and-mortar casinos in the pipeline, and it’s unlikely online poker would be authorized before those are built, according to testimony at a hearing last year.

California has been home to online poker discussions for years, and 2016 has already appeared to produce some new hope. The issue in California is whether horse tracks should be allowed to offer online poker. The state’s tribal gaming industry doesn’t want them involved. A draft of forthcoming legislation is offering the horse tracks a substantial cut of online poker revenue in exchange for their non-involvement.

There have also been calls for adding online poker to legislation pertaining to daily fantasy sports. A DFS bill passed the Golden State Assembly last month and currently sits in the Senate for consideration. The state’s largest newspaper recently said it supports an omnibus bill.

Unlike Pennsylvania and New York, California is considered to be an online poker opportunity on the verge of falling by the wayside if legislators and gambling interests don’t hash out a compromise soon, a tribal gaming insider told Card Player last month.