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Washington State Considers Legalizing Online Gambling

1 March 2004

WASHINGTON – As reported by the Tacoma News Tribune: "The Legislature faces a dilemma: Should it legalize Internet gambling to give Washington's horse-racing industry a fair cut of the action?

"To put it another way, should lawmakers sanction a dangerous form of gambling - which is already taking place outside the law - to help preserve a relatively benign form? This is not an easy call. The difficulty lies in the fact that different forms of gambling vary considerably in their potential for harm.

"On the most destructive end of the spectrum are such games as slot machines or video poker - electronic devices that encourage players to place bet after bet in rapid succession.

"…On the other end of the spectrum is an outing at the racetrack.

"…Unfortunately, the distinction between horse racing and more addictive games has been muddied in recent years.

"…Gambling entrepreneurs have devised ways to bet on horses - lots of horses, at lots of tracks - over the Internet through a system called advance-deposit wagering.

"…All of which leads to the dilemma of Senate Bill 6481, which would legalize advance-deposit wagering on horse races in an attempt to let Washington's horse-racing industry claim a share of Internet betting that is now happening outside the law…"

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