A brief mention in a Seattle Post Intelligencer online article revealed that Washington state leaders are considering expanding land-based gambling as a source of revenue, in an echo of the handful of other American states eyeing regulated online gambling as a potential source of revenue.

The difference, though, is that Washington has long been known as one of the states most opposed to online gambling of any kind, even considering classifying it as a felony.

In the article, writer Chris Grygiel explains that may slowly change because of the state’s failure to connect revenue on Internet sales.

“This failure to capture online revenue means the state will lose about $740 million over the next two-year budget period,” Grygiel writes. “That’s money the Legislature badly needs as it tries to deal with a deficit for 2011-13 that has jumped to more than $5 billion.

“Huge cuts will be made to education, health care and public safety and Gov. Chris Gregoire said she would consider expanded gambling and increases liquor sales to try to bring in more cash.

Once again, then, economic necessity may provide the stimulus needed to convince government regulators that U.S. citizens enjoy gambling and should be allowed to do so without legal penalties. Now, with taxes needed more than ever, anti-gambling political grandstanding seems finally to be taking a backseat in the Evergreen State.

Whether or not the state will join more progressive governments in New Jersey, Florida, California, and Iowa in actually introducing bills to legislate online gambling remains to be seen, but it’s still a step in the right direction.

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