WSR 09-04-032

PROPOSED RULES

GAMBLING COMMISSION


[ Filed January 29, 2009, 1:24 p.m. ]

Continuance of WSR 08-17-085.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 08-05-031.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Amending WAC 230-15-030 Authorized nonhouse-banked card games; and new section WAC 230-16-157 Electronic poker tables.

Hearing Location(s): Red Lion Hotel, 2300 Evergreen Park Drive, Olympia, WA 98502, (360) 943-4000, on March 13, 2009, at 9:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: March 13, 2009.

Submit Written Comments to: Susan Arland, P.O. Box 42400, Olympia, WA 98504-2400, e-mail SusanA@wsgc.wa.gov, fax (360) 486-3625, by March 1, 2009.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Gail Grate, executive assistant, by March 1, 2009, TTY (360) 486-3637 or (360) 486-3453.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: At their August 2008 meeting, the commission filed a petition for rule change submitted by PokerTek Inc. requesting that electronic poker gambling tables be authorized for use in card rooms. The electronic poker table, PokerPro, provides an opportunity to play poker without a center dealer and uses electronic facsimiles of cards and chips. No physical gambling chips or cards are used during play.

The petition was discussed at the September 2008 and January 2009 study sessions. It was discussed at the October 2008 and November 2008 commission meetings. The petitioner provided a demonstration of the PokerPro table at the October 2008 commission meeting. A commission meeting was not held in December 2008. We anticipate the petition will be discussed at the February 2009 study session and be up for final action at the March 13, 2009, commission meeting.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: After the November 2008 commission meeting, PokerTek submitted the PokerPro table to our electronic gambling lab for a full analysis. Our electronic gambling lab is reviewing the machine and we anticipate a report will be available for consideration at the March 2009 commission meeting.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 9.46.070.

Statute Being Implemented: Not applicable.

Name of Proponent: David Malone, Attorney at Law, Representing PokerTek, Inc., private.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Susan Arland, Rules Coordinator, Lacey, (360) 486-3466; Implementation: Rick Day, Director, Lacey, (360) 486-3446; and Enforcement: Mark Harris, Assistant Director, Lacey, (360) 486-3579.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. A small business economic impact statement has not been prepared pursuant to RCW 19.85.025 because the change would not impose additional costs on businesses.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. The Washington state gambling commission is not an agency that is statutorily required to prepare a cost-benefit analysis under RCW 34.05.328.

January 29, 2009

Susan Arland

Rules Coordinator

OTS-1725.1


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 608, filed 4/10/07, effective 1/1/08)

WAC 230-15-030   Authorized nonhouse-banked card games.   (1) Only the following nonhouse-banked card games are authorized:

(a) Poker;

(b) Hearts;

(c) Pinochle;

(d) Cribbage;

(e) Rummy;

(f) Panguingue (Pan);

(g) Pitch; and

(h) Bid Whist.

(2) Card game licensees must operate these games in the manner explained in the most current version of The New Complete Hoyle, Revised or Hoyle's Modern Encyclopedia of Card Games, or similar authoritative book on card games we have approved. Card game licensees may make immaterial modifications to the games.

(3) Card game licensees may offer poker with electronic poker tables, as authorized by WAC 230-16-157. The specific poker games offered must comply with the standard rules of play as referenced in subsection (2) of this section, and the following operational rules that are unique to electronic poker tables:

(a) A licensed card room employee must supervise all gaming conducted with the electronic poker table(s); and

(b) Every player must establish an account unique to each individual by presenting, at minimum, valid identification, proof of age, and a signature sample; and

(c) A player may fund his or her account with cash, funds drawn on U.S. bank accounts, or gaming chips issued by the card room licensee; and

(d) A player or card room employee must transfer funds from the player's account to a specified seat at a designated electronic poker table and activate play at the seat by use of a nonvalue identification card unique to the player; and

(e) Neither a player nor card room employee may insert cash or other instruments of value in the electronic poker table; and

(f) Players may purchase chips only at their assigned table through funds accessible from their individual account; and

(g) Fees may be assessed by time, per hand played, or by rake, and a licensed card room employee shall oversee the collection of all fees and the deposit of said fees in the table's electronic drop box; and

(h) A minimum of two or more players is required before a game can begin; and

(i) All wagers must be made with chips issued by and used as part of the electronic poker table; and

(j) Games offered on electronic poker tables must operate as center-dealt games; and

(k) All poker games offered with electronic poker tables must meet all applicable surveillance requirements; and

(l) If a player wins a player supported jackpot or other prize of five hundred dollars or more while playing on an electronic poker table, the winning combination of cards must be recorded by surveillance and an electronic or paper record of the card combination must be generated and retained in accordance with agency rules; and

(m) To cash out, a player must conclude play at the table, remove his or her player account card, and present it with valid photo identification to a licensed card room employee at the cashier's cage; the card room employee must confirm the player's identity and, if applicable, cause appropriate financial and/or tax reporting forms to be completed; and

(n) Because the electronic poker tables operate with a self-contained accounting system, no count room procedures are required; however, all fees collected by electronic poker tables will be recorded as part of the card room's daily records at least once every twenty-four hours.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 9.46.070. 07-09-033 (Order 608), 230-15-030, filed 4/10/07, effective 1/1/08.]

OTS-1726.2


NEW SECTION
WAC 230-16-157   Electronic poker tables.   (1) Manufacturers of electronic poker tables must ensure their poker table system:

(a) Reproduces accurate facsimiles of a single, standard deck of cards; and

(b) Randomly shuffles cards before each round of play; and

(c) Reproduces accurate facsimiles of chips, clearly evidencing chip color and value; and

(d) Employs an accounting system or software to document the method of collection for game fees and, if applicable, player-supported jackpot funds and fees; and

(e) Contains a backup system that records and displays at least five previous rounds of play; and

(f) Contains security protocol which prevents unauthorized access; and

(g) May be operated only by card room personnel and does not allow players to play solely against the equipment; and

(h) Allows testing of the computer software; and

(i) Operates in accordance with approved internal controls specific to electronic poker tables.

(2) Manufacturers must have a licensed gaming laboratory test and certify the system complies with subsection (1) of this section.

(3) Manufacturers must also submit their system to us for testing, as explained in WAC 230-06-050, with the certification from the independent laboratory and receive our approval before electronic poker tables may be offered for play.

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Washington State Code Reviser's Office