Curtis Woodard who is a poker player from Washington State recently announced the introduction of two preliminary ballot initiatives which will focus on improving the legal landscape for players. Part of this new initiative will also include a proposed measure called the Washington State Internet Poker Act (WSIPA) of 2014.
Along with his fellow Washington State players, Woodard is looking to build momentum and garner public support with the focus being on obtaining a minimum of 300,000 signatures along with the placement of the initiatives on the November, 2014 general election ballot.
In a statement Woodard said,
If we are successful in getting enough signatures, the measure(s) go before the next legislative session. They can do one of three things. They can adopt the measure, in which case it will become law. Or they can take no action, in which case it will go to the ballot in Nov. ’14. Or, they can pass an alternative, in which case the voters will be given a choice between the two measures.
Woodard along with other Washington State players also want a second initiative called the Internet Poker Player Decriminalization Act (IPPDA) of 2014 to be passed. This new initiative looks to reverse a highly debatable Washington law that was passed in 2006, that makes the playing of online poker a felony. Currently, Washington is the only state in the national that has a felony statute on the books, aimed at all players. However, a recent attempt by the WA legislative proposal that looked to address the same issue was unsuccessful at the initiative could not gain sufficient political support.
Woodward went on to say that
As we spend the year gathering signatures, we will also be meeting with legislators to gather support in advance. I will also be meeting with leaders of the big Tribal interests, as I am working hard to get their support. It is my goal to have generated enough support so that even if we don’t meet our signature goal, the legislature will take up the issue anyway.
Woodard had also stated that the language for both proposals was currently being reviewed by the state’s Code Reviser’s office. The final language is expected to be approved and resubmitted again during the month of April.
This new initiative looks to create an exemption for online poker by making changes to the existing statutes and identifying poker as an allowed activity, thereby going on to charge the Washington State Gambling Commission with the responsibility of managing both the licensing and regulation of operators, who have to be physically present in the state of Washington.