Will the U.S. state of Washington legalise online gambling?

News on 24 Aug 2017

The US state of Washington licenses and profits from almost every form of gambling there is, but not the online vertical, where it has earned notoriety for having some of the most draconian, anti-player laws in the Union.

That could be about to change, according to a speculative report in the publication Pokerfuse, which claims that after several failed legalisation bids the House may be seriously considering the possibilities of more tax revenues and jobs through online gambling.

Apparently a Senate committee meeting in January this year suggested that HB1114 or a current derivative should be reintroduced despite having failed in two previous years.

Last year’s bill proposed the legalisation and regulation of online poker only, although there is also a Senate Bill (SB5169) active in the Sub Committee for Labor and Sports which proposes the legalisation of daily fantasy sports as a skill game.

Whether the House bill was reintroduced is unknown; the Washington Legislature website currently shows HB 1114 as a measure unrelated to online poker legalisation.

Pokerfuse points to a Spectrum consultancy report as a potential incentive for Washington lawmakers to move forward on legalisation. The voluminous and comprehensive report estimates that online gambling could boost state gambling revenues by 37 percent by 2020.

Spectrum uses the state of New Jersey (which has similar population demographics) to illustrate the benefits of legalisation, along with empirical evidence that online operations address a different market demographic to land gambling and do not cannibalise land revenues.

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