A recent work session in the Senate Financial Institutions, Economic Development & Trade Committee explored contributions and future impacts the gaming industry has on Washington’s economy.

From large outfits like Renton-based Wizards of the Coast — which publishes titles like Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons and others – to small start-ups, gaming in the northwest is big business.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, chair of the committee and an avid table top gamer in his spare time, said that he believes this industry will continue to grow as it becomes more and more part of mainstream culture.

“As a loud and proud nerd myself, I can tell you that the level of passion people feel for this hobby is very real,” he said. “There is an enormous consumer base for this industry that has grown steadily over the last two decades and only intensified in recent years.”

All told, big publishers like Wizards, Paizo and others, as well as multitudes of small retail shops throughout the state, the sale of games, books, clothing, events, conferences and related collectibles generate somewhere in the neighborhood of $1-$2 billion in revenue annually.

Retail store owners, publishers and others testified during the work session, consistently touting Washington’s gaming industry as one of the nation’s most established.

“Gaming creates great jobs and draws people to our state both through tourism and as a destination for professionals looking to work on the cutting edge of the industry,” Hobbs said. “It’s also important to remember, and many of the people that testified reiterated, that this is more than an industry – it’s a community. Those of us involved in gaming are drawn to it because of the sense of family that comes with it.”

You can watch the entire work session by clicking here.