Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Mike Gilmore, Game On WA
206-852-5310
mike@gameonwa.org‍

Statewide Coalition to Protect Future of Social Games Industry, Game On WA, Adds Diverse Tech and Business Members

SEATTLE – January 27, 2020 – Game On WA, an industry-led coalition of civic and tech leaders launched in December 2019, today announced that it is expanding to include a broad spectrum of technology companies, educators and business groups. The coalition seeks to prevent Washington state from becoming the first state to consider social games, enjoyed by millions of players statewide, as illegal gambling.

With the Legislature now in session, the coalition will inform lawmakers and the public about the value of the mobile and social games industry.

“Our growing coalition is proof that our tech sector and game industry are vitally important to the Washington state economy,” said former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, an honorary GameOn WA co-chair. “We must prevent the loss of thousands of clean, high-wage jobs by ensuring these games are considered entertainment and not illegal gambling.”

Added members of the Game On WA coalition include:

- Academy of Interactive Entertainment – a specialist games and film educator established by industry with alumni working in studios around the world

- DoubleDown Interactive – a leading developer of fun to play casual games

- Hashbang Games – an Edmonds based game developer specializing in fun casual game mechanics and large-scale back-end system integration

- InternationalSocial Games Association (ISGA) – the worldwide representative body of the social games industry, a thriving segment of the entertainment and digital economies

- InternationalGame Developers Association (IGDA) – the Seattle chapter of the world's largest nonprofit membership organization, serving all individuals who create games

- GreaterKirkland Chamber of Commerce – a nonprofit business advocacy organization committed to promoting the Greater Kirkland business community

- SciPlay – a leading developer and publisher of free-to-play digital games on mobile and web platforms

For years, the industry has adhered to guidance issued by the Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC) that social games are not illegal gambling. Games potentially at risk include popular match-three, strategy, puzzle and some role-playing games, typically played on smart phones or in-browser. The coalition is seeking legislation to confirm the WSGC’s previous guidance issued in 2014.

Last week, bills were introduced in the House and Senate to help resolve the ongoing economic uncertainty impacting the mobile games industry. In the house, HB 2720 was introduced by Rep. Zack Hudgins with bipartisan support from Reps. Vick, Blake, and Jenkin. A companion bill in the Senate, SB 6568, was introduced by Sen. Mark Mullet and co-sponsored by Sen. John Braun.

The bills will amend RCW4.24.070 to ensure that companies that relied on the Gambling Commission’s guidance cannot be held liable under the Recovery of Money Lost at Gambling Act for mobile games that do not allow players to win anything of real-world value.

To learn more about Game On WA and sign-up for updates from the coalition, contact hello@gameonwa.org or visit www.gameonwa.org.

ABOUT GAME ON WA
Game On WA is a group of civic leaders, industry experts and tech executives united in support of the social games industry. We are advocates for free-to-play entertainment who seek to raise awareness about relevant issues facing this thriving segment of the Washington entertainment and digital economies. Honorary Co-chairs include former Gov. Gary Locke, Kristina Hudson, Executive Director of OneRedmond and Michael Schutzler, CEO of the Washington Technology Industry Association.

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