Online Poker in Washington State Banned

Published Friday, April 17, 2009 -

Playing online poker is going to get you in trouble if you do it in Washington State USA. A Court of Appeals in the state has upheld a law that makes playing online poker a felony.

Lee Rousso, who is the Washington State Director for the Poker Players Alliance says the case may now go to the Washington Supreme Court. In a quote from the Poker News Daily Rousso said, "The Supreme Court gets to decide if they'll take it. I think there's a pretty good chance they will. There's also a possibility that it could end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. It's more difficult to get local judges to strike down their own state's laws." Mr. Rousso contends that the 2006 Gambling Act is unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

Rousso next step is to explain to the Washington State Supreme Court that the Act is protectionist in favour of legalized card rooms and casinos. The law is among the harshest in the country, punishment for up to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Rousso spoke about the 2006 law, "The legislature is not well-educated on the issue. There is really one person in the legislature who claims she is a gambling expert, but isn't. Most people probably had no idea that they were making it a felony."

The Poker Players Alliance has met with some success in other states South Carolina and Pennsylvania being a few of them where the game of poker is considered one of skill. Washington has decided gambling applies to all card games regardless of skill and whether the cards are virtual or cardboard.

"They've given me enough that it's worth an appeal. As you move up through the courts, the issues tend to become clearer and narrower. In the part of the decision where the Court of Appeals rules against me, I think they've given me enough to get a good argument." The determined PPL director concluded. It is not sure when he will file the appeal.

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