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New Lobbying Organization to Protect Gaming in Washington
The gaming industry has suffered from regular attacks from local governments, which have put some bans on a number of entertainment activities in the United States. A lobbying organization has been created in Washington state in order to shield games available on smartphones from regulatory laws. The move comes as a reaction to last year’s federal court decision, which put the legal status of smartphone games at risk in WA. The initiative is aimed at the legal separation of smartphone games (which belong to so-called “social games”) from other, different gambling activities.
Gaming Industry in Washington State
For many years, the Washington State Gambling Commission hadn’t intervened in the area of social games; still, they eventually decided to make their move. Federal court decision ruled to leave the industry in “legal limbo,” according to Game on WA.
There are several major gaming companies that have been prospering in Washington state: namely Microsoft, Valve, and Big Fish Games. The last one was accused of facilitating illegal online gambling, which represented a breach of local state laws. This casual gaming company lawsuit led to a wave of attacks upon other representatives of the industry too.
Defenders of the Industry
Kristina Hudson, civic leader and coalition co-founder of Game on WA, has stated that such a decision ultimately means kicking Washington state out of the business completely, so that their local users will lose access to the games they liked to play, as game makers will be forced to leave the state. Two other co-founders of Game on WA, Gary Locke and Michael Schutzler, hope they will manage to persuade the legislature body to constructively regulate the issue of social games.
The legalization bill may take a lot of time and should not be expected soon, comments Heather Songer, speaker for the Washington State Gambling Commission. According to her, the Commission has put its focus on sports gambling. It is expected to finalize the decision on sports betting at tribal casinos. Almost all kinds of gambling are prohibited in Washington state. The only exception is licensed casinos on tribal lands and authorized activities by the gambling commission.
The lobbying organization claims that this is only the beginning of its activity, and they are gaining momentum. It is planning to recruit new forces and raise awareness of the problem in society. As per Hudson, if the legal issue isn’t fixed properly, the gaming companies will leave the state, which will mean taking jobs with them!
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