A message from Director Trujillo on the passing of Senator Margarita Prentice


enator Margarita Prentice will be missed. She passed away peacefully on April 2nd. She was a tough, talented, and caring politician who specialized in looking out for those she believed were underserved or had no voice. As an appointed Legislative Ex-Officio member of the Gambling Commission, she did not sit idly on the sidelines, but exercised her advocacy talents. In 2005, She was instrumental in legislation that brought the State's three gambling agencies together to seed $200,000 to the Department of Social and Health Services so Washington could begin providing funding for services to individuals suffering from problem gambling. This same legislation set in motion a taxing program paid by operators (not the general public) that would secure future funding.

Sadly, not long thereafter, Senator Prentice was unfairly blamed as the one that made Internet Gambling illegal in Washington. In reality, she surmised quite correctly that many people presumed legality because the law did not specifically prohibit, but that is not how Washington's gambling laws work. Quite the opposite in fact, but one must know the inner workings of our State's gambling laws to understand this. Her legislation was so crystal clear that no one doubted the meaning of it, and for that she received negative and cruel feedback. Nevertheless, she accepted this as the price of her advocacy, smiled, and quietly persevered.

After her time in the Legislature, Senator Prentice came to us as one of our very own Gambling Commissioners. Her term with us was short, but she served with distinction, even becoming Vice-Chair before finally deciding to step away entirely. She may no longer be with us, but I know she would take comfort in knowing the work she started in 2005 continues. In 2019, the State once again steps into the problem gambling arena with the soon-to-be-established Problem Gambling Self-Exclusion Program and Problem Gambling Task Force. Senator Margarita Prentice will be missed.