Washington state needs to look at licensing and regulating online poker as a new source of revenue.
Our state is already very pro-gambling – with lotteries, scratch tickets, pull tabs and casinos – yet we strengthen laws that make online poker a Class C felony.
It is fine to play at an Indian casino with none of that revenue going to the state. We need to do away with the criminalization of online poker and turn toward licensing and regulation. This would allow a new flow of revenue into the budget at a time when we are cutting essential services.
Licensing would keep sites legitimate by running background checks, making rules to keep games fair, audits and investigating complaints. This would protect players and people with control problems, and keep out underage players.
Poker is a honorable game of skill that has been played around a family table for generations. It pits one’s experience and knowledge against another’s to see who wins.
If we have to keep accepting cuts in the state budget, then no new forms of revenue should be ignored – including online poker. This industry has the potential to create jobs and bring in an estimated $42 billion over 10 years at state and federal levels.
You should have the freedom to play the game in your own home as a consenting adult making your own choice. We need to restore our personal freedoms while helping out our economy in this trying time.