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Legislation for Poker & Income Taxes for Poker Players Discussions of various poker-related laws and steps players can take to push for better laws.

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Old 09-05-2013, 02:29 PM   #1
curtinsea
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Washington Internet Poker Initiative

We have officially suspended signature gathering for I-582/583. Without adequate funding and volunteer help, the signature goal is out of reach. But that is not to say the effort has been a failure.

Our intentions with this initiative effort were to raise awareness of the issue, get the language we want out there for legislators to see, and to get it introduced in the 2014 legislative session, and possibly before the voters November 2014. We have gotten the language out there, and our efforts to reach legislators has been fruitful. We are now working to get a bill, either ours or similar, introduced in both chambers of the Legislature next year. It's expected that Rep. Harris will introduce something in the next session, and we want to see a companion bill introduced in the Senate.

In the coming months, we are focused on getting better organized, and raising funds to support lobbying in Olympia, and to support legislators with a favorable position on our issue. Washington players should stand together in this effort to restore our freedom to play the game! http://ipokerwa.com/

The option to file either or both initiatives next year as Initiatives to the People remains an option for putting the issue before the voters in 2014. A decision to go that route will be made in mid February, but it will be a costly effort and can only be undertaken with financial support from the industry.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:26 AM   #2
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Thanks, Curt. Appreciate your efforts. I'm willing to dedicate my time towards lobbying efforts. Feel free to hit me with a PM.
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:56 AM   #3
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Let's make & like poker posts on Gov. Jay Inslee's Facebook wall: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=254162261397562. It's important to keep the drumbeat up and to show where the energy and activism are on the issue.
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:00 PM   #4
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Regarding the use of social media to get the attention of legislators, I can tell you first hand that it does get noticed. Those that follow our twitter feed (https://twitter.com/OlympiaChange) can vouch that we barrage legislators and state and district parties with pro-poker messages, and those get noticed.

I have gotten several positive responses, as well as a threat from one legislator, and I've even been blocked by at least one local party affiliate lol

But the key to it being effective is having wide participation. They can tune out one account if it gets annoying, but they can't ignore a hundred, or a thousand accounts. I've made it as easy as possible for users to get the message out, following Rich's example with the pre-filled and editable tweets. I don't have every member of the legislature on the list, but most if not all of those who actually use twitter.
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

There is one competitive legislative race this year in Washington's 26th Legislative District, between the appointed Nathan Schlicher (D-incumbent) and current State Rep. Jan Angel (R). I've reached out to both of them regarding our issue, and here are their positions . . .

Jan Angel - "Hi – Jan Angel here. I had a lot of emails on this through the last couple of sessions. I do not believe or support Government being involved in telling you what you can or cannot play online. Simple as that (smile). Next they will be telling me I can’t watch the Poker Tournaments on TV - - -(smile). Jan"

Nathan Schlicher - "Thank you Mr. Woodard for your email regarding internet poker. I have spoken with a number of poker enthusiasts and am following the issue. I am supportive of a pathway forward that works for all parties, is legal, and controlled. I am aware of a number of initiatives that are being proposed and look forward to following them through the process and seeing where the interests of the voters lie in moving this forward. Thanks again for the email and keep in touch.
Best,
Nathan"

FWIW, Jan Angel had ten points on Schlicher in the primary, and is likely to defeat him in November.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:31 PM   #6
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Let's get some pro ipoker tweets out to State Senator Joe Fain @senatorfain You can click this link - http://spredd.it/HPLTAR8N for a prefilled message, and modify as you see fit before posting
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:36 PM   #7
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Let's show some support for Rep. Jan Angel's support of ipoker freedom, and ask her to carry that message in the State Senate next year.

http://spredd.it/ffFawUrK
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Old 10-17-2013, 03:36 PM   #8
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

I just got this e-mail from Jim McDermott. I'm pretty sure he's already aware of our feelings on online poker as I've sent him letters and e-mails and voted for him, but couldn't hurt to show up to his breakfast this saturday if anyone wants. E-mail I just received:

Quote:
Dear Friends,

As you know it has been an interesting few weeks in the “other” Washington. After a few weekend votes which kept me away, I am finally able to come home to my district and update you on what has been happening.

I hope you’ll join me for “Coffee with Your Congressman” on October 19th at the Grand Central Bakery in Burien. My staff and I will answer any questions and listen to any concerns that you may have. I want to hear your thoughts and exchange ideas about what you want to see happening in Congress.

Coffee with Your Congressman
Saturday, October 19, 11:00am
Grand Central Bakery
626 SW 152 St.
Burien, WA 98166
Map it!

Hope to see you there!

Sincerely,
Congressman Jim McDermott

PS – If you’d like to stay up to date on what I’m doing in Washington or in DC, sign up for my e-newsletter, find me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter!
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:58 PM   #9
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

It would be great if someone can get there on Saturday. Suggest he become a cosponsor of HR 2666, he's been supportive of the issue, at least in words, in the past.

We can send him some tweets so he has HR 2666 on his mind this weekend -

http://spredd.it/ZfF9bUSW
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Old 10-21-2013, 10:25 PM   #10
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

tweeted
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:34 PM   #11
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

I just happened to write to my 3 WA state legislators last weekend encouraging them to address online poker in the upcoming session. So far, one has gotten back to me-

Quote:
It turns out that Representative Paul Harris is working on internet poker
> legislation that your email describes. He made me aware that there may be
> some resistance from the tribes who might feel that their territory is
> being threatened. However, he believes we can show them that we can
> alleviate their concerns. He also feels that there will be bipartisan
> support for this legislation, which is always a good sign. I'll work with
> him during the interim to make sure we are ready to go with the legislation
> when the next session starts in January.
>
> All the best,
>>
> Mark Hargrove
> State Representative
Might be worth contacting your reps and letting them know you want them supporting, sponsoring, and voting for complete legalization and regulation- nothing short.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:11 PM   #12
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Quote:
Originally Posted by WayAbvPar View Post
I just happened to write to my 3 WA state legislators last weekend encouraging them to address online poker in the upcoming session. So far, one has gotten back to me-



Might be worth contacting your reps and letting them know you want them supporting, sponsoring, and voting for complete legalization and regulation- nothing short.
We are in the same legislative district. Sen. Fain's office has been in contact with me, and I'm working on getting him to introduce a bill in the Senate. I will be meeting with him soon, you interested in participating in that meeting?

I got the same response from Mark Hargrove, but I still plan on meeting with him as well.

If you want to contact me, add me on skype - curtis_woodard

Last edited by curtinsea; 10-23-2013 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:02 PM   #13
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

I may or may not have time to meet up with anyone (wife is starting a part time job nights/weekends, which puts me on kid duty), but there are some things we need to make sure they hear.

1) No prior bad actor clauses. We WANT Pokerstars to come. They do it best, they do it right, and they can be trusted not to run off into the night with player funds

2) Interstate/International player pools- Liquidity, liquidity, liquidity

3) In client tax help- don't put the burden on the players. Make the client take care of tax reporting (or at least create the forms to report) to keep players on the right side of the law

4) No artificially low bet limits. Let games grow as large as the in game economy can withstand

5) While allowing all casino gaming might be fairest, we only really care about online poker. I can live with never playing a game of online blackjack or baccarat. We can use this as a concession if it comes up.

Perhaps grant the tribes inexpensive advertising on any WA-facing sites to offset any perceived revenue losses. Encourage them to partner up with sites for things like online satellites to live tournaments in their rooms, or use online site rewards programs to buy goods and services at local casinos.

The point is there is plenty of room (and plenty of money) for everyone. Poker is in dire straits in WA. Muckleshoot expanded their room a few years ago and they manage to fill it maybe 15-20 times a year (only for big giveaways and/or tournaments). The Snoqualmie room is dying. Tulalip is bigger than it was last time I visited, but only had 5 or 6 tables going on a Friday night. The game needs new players. It needs low barriers to entry. Online poker is playable at very low stakes, and allows new players to get a feel for the game. This will drive some of them to the live rooms for new experiences. How do the tribes think I got the courage to try live games out?
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:40 PM   #14
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Quote:
Originally Posted by WayAbvPar View Post
I may or may not have time to meet up with anyone (wife is starting a part time job nights/weekends, which puts me on kid duty), but there are some things we need to make sure they hear.

1) No prior bad actor clauses. We WANT Pokerstars to come. They do it best, they do it right, and they can be trusted not to run off into the night with player funds

2) Interstate/International player pools- Liquidity, liquidity, liquidity

3) In client tax help- don't put the burden on the players. Make the client take care of tax reporting (or at least create the forms to report) to keep players on the right side of the law

4) No artificially low bet limits. Let games grow as large as the in game economy can withstand

5) While allowing all casino gaming might be fairest, we only really care about online poker. I can live with never playing a game of online blackjack or baccarat. We can use this as a concession if it comes up.
This is all good stuff. I-582 covered 1, 4, and 5. Authorizing interstate compacting is something that was left out intentionally, as was tax implications, because of the 'one subject' rule of the initiative process. It could have been challenged even before reaching the voters and have all been for naught.

As for taxes, there are already established gambling taxes in WA, there isn't really a need for a new tax provision. If the legislature wants to increase that tax, that is up to them. Dems love to hike taxes anyway, and this is something we can give away in compromise.

Compacting is something I am working on as well. I think we should authorize the Governor to negotiate any compacts, and then send any agreement to the legislature for approval. I think this works the smoothest, if we simply give the legislature a 'yay or nay' decision on a pre-negotiated deal.

Quote:
Perhaps grant the tribes inexpensive advertising on any WA-facing sites to offset any perceived revenue losses. Encourage them to partner up with sites for things like online satellites to live tournaments in their rooms, or use online site rewards programs to buy goods and services at local casinos.

The point is there is plenty of room (and plenty of money) for everyone. Poker is in dire straits in WA. Muckleshoot expanded their room a few years ago and they manage to fill it maybe 15-20 times a year (only for big giveaways and/or tournaments). The Snoqualmie room is dying. Tulalip is bigger than it was last time I visited, but only had 5 or 6 tables going on a Friday night. The game needs new players. It needs low barriers to entry. Online poker is playable at very low stakes, and allows new players to get a feel for the game. This will drive some of them to the live rooms for new experiences. How do the tribes think I got the courage to try live games out?
The Tribes are going to be players in this game, that cannot be ignored. Two tribes already have deals and play money sites up and running.

I've been working on convincing Pokerstars that Redmond would be an ideal N. American headquarters, and that offering up the FTP platform to tribal skins would assure they are not excluded with 'bad actors' clauses. But they are all-in and awaiting the flop in NJ, so we'll have to wait and see how that plays out.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:48 PM   #15
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

The most important thing here in WA is getting a bill in the Senate. The Dems control the House, and Harris' bill will not move forward unless it is a pure giveaway to the Tribes, IMO. With the Majority Coalition in the Senate, we have the opportunity to have sound policy that is good for all of the state, and not just the Tribes.

BTW, I have no problem with the 888 platform or playing on a Tribal run site. In fact, the opportunity to have satellites into live tourneys is something I really want. But I think the Bally's platform is virtually unplayable, and if we get stuck with crap like that, we haven't won anything. We need to foster competition.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:59 AM   #16
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Yesterday, Rep. Jim McDermott introduced HR 3491, to 'regulate and tax internet gaming.' As a member of the minority party, this bill has zero chance of advancing even in the sub committee, but we should encourage him to cosponsor HR 2666, and perhaps offer his tax bill as an amendment.

http://twitter.com/RepJimMcDermott
http://mcdermott.house.gov/
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Old 11-15-2013, 05:47 PM   #17
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

This bill seeks to be a companion bill to online poker or online poker + online casino-style gaming licensing legislation (i.e. the tax component).
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:34 AM   #18
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

The legislative session begins on January 13th, and this will be an important session for internet poker players in our state. I'm confident that Rep. Harris will introduce an #ipoker bill in the House, and I am working diligently to get a bill introduced in the Senate as well. It is paramount that we, as a group, not only get behind and support these bills, but actively push for legislation to be enacted.

We will likely get very short notice between a bill being introduced and the scheduling of a public hearing, so we will need to be prepared, and be able to have a contingent of players speak on behalf of internet poker at committee hearing(s).

What would be ideal would be to have a rally at the Capital the day of the hearing, and come out in numbers large enough to get noticed. This will also help us generate some mainstream press to illustrate not only the absurd penalty for playing internet poker, but the utter failing of prohibition to address the issues used to support that prohibition in the first place.

We need volunteers who can get a free weekday and travel to Olympia to stand for the game. Let's stand together so that our voice is heard, and push our elected leaders to restore our freedom to play the game, and to establish safeguards for the players!
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:58 PM   #19
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Washington House Republicans will host the Legislature’s first-ever Twitter town hall, Thursday, January 9, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Participants can ask House Republican leadership members Rep. Dan Kristiansen and Rep. J.T. Wilcox a 140-character question using the hashtag #solutionsWA.

This is a great opportunity to reach out to the House GOP and encourage them to support poker legislation in the days leading up to the legislative session. Our hopes of Rep. Harris introducing a poker regulatory bill this month could be improved by great participation from WA players.
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Old 01-05-2014, 04:19 PM   #20
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Quote:
Originally Posted by curtinsea View Post
Washington House Republicans will host the Legislature’s first-ever Twitter town hall, Thursday, January 9, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Participants can ask House Republican leadership members Rep. Dan Kristiansen and Rep. J.T. Wilcox a 140-character question using the hashtag #solutionsWA.

This is a great opportunity to reach out to the House GOP and encourage them to support poker legislation in the days leading up to the legislative session. Our hopes of Rep. Harris introducing a poker regulatory bill this month could be improved by great participation from WA players.
Can the PPA e-mail this out to all WA residents? This is a great idea, but, not all WA players follow 2+2.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:24 PM   #21
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Let's be sure and participate in this, start thinking about questions we can ask in 140-characters that strike to the heart of our issue. You can use one of these of create your own using the hash tag #solutionsWA

Here are a few to ponder. Each is hyperlinked to send as a tweet.


re: online poker, wouldn't a regulated alternative, with safeguards in place, be better than current felony prohibition? #solutionsWA



Prohibition of #ipoker prevents @wagambling from mission to Protect the Public by Ensuring that Gambling is Legal and Honest #solutionsWA


Should playing a $1 poker game online from our homes continue to be a felony in our state? Wouldnt sound regulations be better? #solutionsWA


#ipoker is still accessible by any in WA despite prohibitions & without the safeguards that licensed operators could provide #solutionsWA
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:03 PM   #22
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

I included this in this week's PPA Weekly Update: http://theppa.org/newsletters/2014/0...t-pca-and-more
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Old 01-09-2014, 05:39 PM   #23
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

We had a pretty good showing at the WA House GOP Twitter Town Hall, and we got noticed immediately. I want to thank everyone who sent out tweets today, and the PPA for helping get the word out.

Twitter is fast becoming a primary interface between elected officials and their constituents, and nobody should ever underestimate the effectiveness that a well thought out 140-character message can have.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:57 PM   #24
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

Sad to report that Washington's Tribes have won this year's battle, and no bill will be introduced in the 2014 Legislative Session.

From Rep. Hargrove (R-47th):

" I talked with Rep. Harris. He said that the Tribes, who have powerful influence with the House majority party are adamantly opposed to his bill. He has been trying to amend it to alleviate their opposition, but no luck so far. Unfortunately, in the current situation, there is no point in submitting the bill, because it wouldn't get a hearing. It looks like the political make up of the legislature will have to change for this bill to have a chance. "

https://www.facebook.com/repmarkharg...52108440476329
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:35 PM   #25
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Re: Washington Internet Poker Initiative

It would appear that Tribal opposition has once again derailed any effort to regulate internet poker in the State of Washington, and we will continue to have the harshest statute against playing the game of any in the country. This is not unique to our state, as players hoping for #ipoker legislation in most states are going to find the same obstacle standing between them and the game.

Tribal opposition stems from one fundamental premise, that the Tribes are not subject to state regulation regarding gambling. Unless and until this issue is embraced and accommodated, Tribes are not going to go along with any state regulation of internet poker. Period. But there may be a way to do just that.

I am working on a new bill, aimed directly at gaining Tribal support. It takes a bit of a different path than what we have seen in the three states that have passed legislation so far, and actually takes some of the principles in each. But the heart of the matter is addressing Tribal sovereignty.

These are the basic points of our measure


--P2P poker via the internet is not a facsimile, viewed by state as Class II under IGRA
--Real money play is authorized, but restricted to a limited number of Certified platforms
--Certified platforms can offer ‘skins’ to Tribes and qualified non-tribal card rooms
--Certified platforms will pay a rake based tax and certification fees
--Qualified card rooms can seek license to offer games via a certified platform
--Licensees are responsible for transactions with players; and security of player funds
--Players are allowed one account per platform/network

At the heart of the measure is the certification of a limited number of platforms. Player liquidity is of vital importance to the success of an intrastate internet poker market. Having only a few networks licensing skins to qualified card rooms allows many to promote their brands online, while common player pools provide the needed liquidity that smaller operations would not have on their own. Also, the bulk of the tax burden is shifted to the certified networks. This provides a fair revenue stream from internet poker.

The state will authorize the Gambling Commission to review, test, rate, and ultimately certify 3 to 5 ‘platforms.’ Internet poker platforms are the programs, servers, and interfaces used by the players and the host to conduct poker games over the internet. Once certified, certificate holder can then offer services to cardrooms authorized for internet play.

Platforms will be certified for one year, and recertified annually to assure continued high standards. Platforms will also pay a rake-based tax.

Card rooms licensed for the preceding twelve months from this measure's enactment can apply for a license to offer play online. This will be an extension of their current operations, which will need to be maintained for the internet portion to remain active.

Qualified card rooms can then seek vendor services from any one of the certified internet poker platforms, brand it as their own, and begin offering play.

Tribes have leave to offer poker, via a certified platform, as Class II gaming.

Players may only have one account on each certified network.


I'm interested in player feedback on the proposal. What parts you think are workable, what parts you think are not. Suggestions on changes, inclusions or deletions. This measure is currently a work in progress, but by the end of February, I want to have settled on language we can use to seek support, so that next year we don't face the same disappointment as this one. I will likely submit this as an Initiative to the Legislature in March, if for no other reason than to send it to thru the Code Reviser's office for revision. Link to the measure below

WA #ipoker 2014
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