Thursday, July 24, 2008

Casino law changes, statewide and local

The May-July "Focus On Gambling" newsletter came out today (.pdf), and it's got news of a big law change, and a few other smaller bits. The big news (and I've already heard radio ads mentioning it) is that casinos can now be open 24 hours five days a week, and for 20 hours the other two days. I'd called this a "good change" in my post about upcoming regulations last April.

The other good proposed change -- the addition of baccarat to the list of permitted casino games -- will be discussed in August.

Also in August, they'll discuss increasing the maximum number of poker players at a table from 10 to 12 (boo!), increasing the tournament fee limit (boo!), and increasing the table game limits from $200 to $500 (meh.)

The Recreational Gaming Association requested that the proposal to increase poker limits from $40 to $500 be put on hold (yay for the delay!). They also

  • withdrew their request to increase the player-supported jackpot admin fee from 10% to 35%. (yay!)
  • withdrew their request to drop the requirement that table games be dealt from a shoe. (bizarre)
  • withdrew their request to eliminate the 5% commission limit for games like Pai Gow and Baccarat. (yay, I guess.)

Locally, the Pierce County Auditor told the folks that they were about 1000 signatures short on their initiative to ban casinos in Lakewood. David Anderson, who's spearheading the campaign, wrote in an e-mail to supporters,

By 12 noon on Friday, August 1, we will need another 1,000 signatures to enable the Initiative to ban casino gambling in Lakewood to make it to the ballot in November. The Pierce County Auditor reviewed the 4,939 signatures we previously submitted and determined there are 2,947 valid signatures. 1,992 signatures were challenged.

We will be meeting with the Auditor on Wednesday, July 23, to determine why over 30 percent of our signatures have been rejected in the hope that we can save some.

I suspect a lot of people who signed the petitions weren't Lakewood residents, or weren't registered voters. They've also had trouble raising funds. The image at right shows the group's donations.

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