WSR 09-13-027

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

GAMBLING COMMISSION


[ Filed June 8, 2009, 2:27 p.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: Card room licensees offering Texas Hold'em.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 9.46.070.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: At the May 2008 meeting, the commission filed for discussion a petition for rule change from the recreational gaming association (RGA) to increase the maximum amount of a single wager in nonhouse-banked card games from $40 to $500. This change would have only applied to house-banked card game licensees who offer poker games and who met the surveillance requirements in WAC 230-15-280. Class E and Class F card game licensees would have continued to be limited to the $40 wager limit.

Alternative #1: At their November 2008 meeting, the commission asked staff to draft an alternative where the bets would remain at a maximum of $40, except for a specific type of "all-in" wager in the game of Texas Hold'em only. Only this particular wager could be up to $500. In order to place the wager, the player would be required to use all his or her remaining chips. If a player had more than $500 in chips, they would not be eligible to place the wager. The house-banked card room would have to meet the surveillance requirements in WAC 230-15-280.

Alternative #2: This alternative was proposed by the RGA after staff asked for comments on Alternative #1. The RGA's alternative would have allowed single wagers up to $300 for Texas Hold'em games only, as long as the house-banked card room met the surveillance requirements in WAC 230-15-280. This alternative was broader than Alternative #1 and would result in a player being able to wager more money than in Alternative #1, but less than in the RGA's original proposal.

At their January 2009 meeting, the commission filed Alternatives #1 and #2 for discussion. The commission decided not to continue discussion of the RGA's original request outlined above. After several more months of discussion, the commission adopted Alternative #1 at their April 2009 meeting.

This proposal keeps the betting limit at a maximum of $40, except for the specific "all-in" wager and only for the game of Texas Hold'em. The proposal was the most restrictive of the three proposals. In addition, this change only applies to house-banked card rooms that meet specific surveillance requirements.

After further review, staff has determined the specific language added to the rule under Alternative #1 does not accommodate itself to the game of Texas Hold'em and should be repealed.

Process for Developing New Rule: Interested parties can participate in the discussion of this proposed change by attending a commission meeting, or contacting the agency rules coordinator at the contact information below.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Rick Day, Deputy Director, P.O. Box 42400, Olympia, WA 98504-2400, (360) 486-3446; Mark Harris, Assistant Director, P.O. Box 42400, Olympia, WA 98504-2400, (360) 486-3579; or Susan Arland, Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 42400, Olympia, WA 98504-2400, (360) 486-3466, e-mail Susana@wsgc.wa.gov.

[Meetings on] July 10, 2009, at The Heathman Lodge, 7801 N.E. Greenwood Drive, Vancouver, WA 98662, (360) 254-3100; on August 14, 2009, at the Inn at Gig Harbor, 3211 56th Street N.W., Gig Harbor, WA 98335, (253) 858-1111; and on September 11, 2009, at the Mirabeau Park Hotel, 110 North Sullivan Road, Spokane, WA 99037, (509) 924-9000.

June 8, 2009

Susan Arland

Rules Coordinator

Washington State Code Reviser's Office