New Gambling Bills: California and Washington

Published January 27, 2015 by Lee R

New Gambling Bills: California and Washington

Second online poker bill introduced in California and Washington State entertains fantasy sports.

Gambling, which looked like a dead issue in California, has gained new life in the state.

Taxation and Regulation in California

As of Friday, unaffiliated Assemblyman and long-time gambling industry supporter has introduced a new bill offering regulation and taxation of online poker in California.

California State Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer introduced the Jones-Sawyer bill, known as AB 167 under the title of “The Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2015,” an adapted version of the bill he introduced in 2014.

The updated exclusive language exempting bad actors from consideration for licenses now focuses on individuals, stating that “a person who has contemptuously defied a legislative investigative body, or other official investigative body of a state or of the United States or a foreign jurisdiction” would be banned from seeking a license for online gaming in the state. The language paves the way for gambling corporations such as leading online poker sites PokerStars and Amaya to reapply for and receive licenses without impediment in the post-regulation era, something which was not possible in the previously corporation-centered language of last year's regulation initiative.

Decriminalization of Fantasy Leagues in Washington

A new bill in Washington state, one of the strictest anti-gambling states in the US, seeks to decriminalize fantasy sports gambling, rendering fantasy sports games legal.

The bill represents a significant shift in policy, as because Washington state considers fantasy sports to be a form of gambling, criminalized in the state and punishable as a felony.

With 500,000 residents in the state playing fantasy sports games, local leaders such as State Senator Pam Roach (R-31st District) are ready to acknowledge Constitutionally that these contests--into which over 41 million people nationwide pay into contests to draft players onto their teams and compete with other participants for pooled cash prizes, including in nationally sponsored leagues from organizations such as ESPN and Yahoo--should be reclassified as games of skill rather than luck-based gambling.

Washingtonians Currently Excluded from National Competition

At this juncture, Washington residents are blocked from sports fantasy pools on gambling sites and in national fantasy sites. The current proposed legislation would still prohibit recognized forms of gambling such as sports betting in the state, ostensibly remaining consistent with a softer interpretation of Washington's still strict policy of gambling prohibition.

See also

US Legislation Update: Online Gambling Takes a Hit in WA, MS

Mass Congress Support for Online Gambling Bill

What Does 2016 Hold for US Online Gambling?

Visions of iGaming Paradise: Hawaii State Legislature Opens Deliberations


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