Washington Governor Signs Account Wagering Bill

Washington horseplayers will be able to bet by phone or over the Internet under a new law signed by Gov. Gary Locke on Thursday.

Senate Bill 6481 is aimed at helping the state's racing industry, essentially by legalizing wagers that are currently being made illegally over the Internet. Neither tracks nor the state make any money from such bets now.

"This provides no bases to expand any other form of gambling," said Locke, who's generally opposed to more gambling.

The law also expands Emerald Downs' authorization to simulcast live horse races from tracks in other states and allow two more off-track betting parlors in King County.

The House made some minor changes to a version the Senate passed last month, including a sunset provision, so the bill must go back to the Senate for another vote.

The bill passed over the objections of antigambling lawmakers who argued that it amounts to a massive expansion of legalized betting that will increase problems associated with gambling addicts.

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