OLYMPIA – On Tuesday, April 30, Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1302 into law. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland, allows the Washington State Gambling Commission and the Washington State Lottery Commission to create a statewide, voluntary self-exclusion program for people with a gambling problem or gambling disorder. The bill also requires a process be established for federally recognized tribes that own gambling operations to participate in the program.
The program must allow people to self-exclude from gambling at multiple establishments by submitting one form from one location, as well as require any person registered in the program to forfeit any winnings. This requirement will de-incentivize problem gamblers, while also providing funds to support problem-gambling treatment. House Bill 1302 also establishes protections for the personally identifiable information of program participants.
“For many, gambling is a fun activity, but for many others, it develops into a real problem,” said Kloba. “People suffering from gambling addictions often have a moment of extreme clarity where they can recognize that they have a problem. This bill provides a tool for the state to assist those people in helping themselves.”
The recently passed state operating budget will also help address problem gambling in Washington state. The budget includes funding for the Joint Legislative Task Force on Problem Gambling, which will review the scope of problem gambling in Washington and the effectiveness of existing programs and services for problem gamblers, and then provide recommendations to the Legislature.
“Our state budget benefits from more than $3 billion in state and local revenues per year related to gambling,” said Kloba. “We have a moral obligation to ensure the adequacy of prevention, treatment, and recovery services to mitigate the harmful effects of this industry for the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from a gambling disorder.”