A DEEPER LOOK INTO ONLINE GAMBLING BILL PASSED IN WASHINGTON STATE
25 September 2006
An article from the blog MakeYouGoHmm.com
May 27, 2006
On June 7 online gambling becomes felony in Washington state
gaming, politics — by TDavid @ 9:30 pm
The hypocritical stench surrounding the online gambling law forthcoming in Washington state includes campaign donations from none other than Indian casinos for State Senator Margarita Prentice (pictured below, Sen. Prentice homepage). Her term ends January 2009. The bill submitted to the Senate is known as SB 6613 and the history shows that it took from January 17, 2006 when it was discussed until June 7 to be enacted into law. Not even five months. Wow, they can move fast on the things that don’t matter, can’t they?
Curiously enough, the Seattle PI article cited below doesn’t mention these heavily biased campaign donations, but KIRO710 Dori Monson read a list of the terrestrial casino donations during one of his recent talk shows.
Washington residents who play poker or make other types of wagers on the Internet will be committing a Class C felony, equivalent under the law to possessing child pornography, threatening the governor or torturing an animal. Although the head of the state Gambling Commission says it is unlikely that individual online gamblers will be targeted for arrest, the new law carries stiff penalties: as much as five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
So let me get this right: an adult who dials up an online poker site is going to be comparable to someone possessing kiddy porn? If there are any actual convictions, this is proof most politicians have gone insane.
The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and with just five dissenting votes in the House. It was signed into law by Gov. Christine Gregoire on March 28.
The same Christine Gregoire who referred to herself as “Chris” Gregoire during her election run. I didn’t vote for her and won’t vote for her re-election. At least there are five people in the House with common sense but they were drowned by 95 others who favored imprisoning online gambers in Washington state.
The article focuses on online poker which is a game I’ve never played for real online. Not a game I particularly care for, but regardless I am strongly opposed to laws preventing adults from gambling if they want to do so.
Formerly, online gambling in Washington State was a gross misdeamonr, of which there don’t appear to have been any convictions (?) which KIRO710 Dori Monson also mentioned as being strange. How can we upgrade the punishment for a law which formerly had zero prosecutions? Is this correct or were there some confirmed prosecutions? My research as of the writing of this article could not confirm there were any successful prosecutions. Please update in the comments if you can find differently.
Washington state residents, please write to your local representatives, especially the 95 who voted for this bogus and likely unenforceable law. Complain voiciferously. Even if you don’t gamble, the last thing the state needs is to see is online gamblers being thrown in jail and having Class C felonies on their record. It will be very difficult to get this law repealed now.
Across the 50 states, only two do not have legalized gambling: Utah and Hawaii. Is Washington state about to have the harshest law on the books against online gambling? In a state that is literally teeming with Indian casinos — some of which we like to visit occasionally — and a state run lottery with some utterly craptastic odds (like most state lotteries) this law seems incredibly hypocritical.
And now I somewhat expect to receive a (likely anonymous) fear mongering comment about how terrible gambling is for society. Yeah, prohibition worked too (not). Didn’t work with alcohol. Isn’t working with marijuana. Won’t work with online gambling. Let’s find a way to legalize and regulate online gambling, open up gambling to the non-tribal state businesses, tax it so the indian casinos aren’t reaping all the rewards.
A vote in a recent election shot down non-tribal gambling being legalized. Of course the fear was that we’d have slots in grocery stores and right next to schools. That’s how laws which make sense get sullied by political scare campaigns muddying up common sense. Most casual gamblers, of which I consider my wife and I, wouldn’t want slots next to schools, but it’s that FUD that spreads and causes non-gamblers and casual gamblers to vote down legislation.
I like the guy’s spirit in the article that says he may take his wireless laptop to the capital steps in Olympia and play online poker as a form of protest. I’ll donate to his legal fund to prevent him from sharing a cell with Bubba. You?
You can read this article at MakeYouGoHmm.com – Things that make you go hmm