Friday, June 16, 2006
Washington State recently enacted a law making online gambling a felony.
I grew up in Washington State, I was born in Spokane, went to college in Pullman Washington and had a student internship in Renton Washington. I moved to Oregon for my first job more than 20 years ago.
I hadn't been through the Seattle area since I first moved to Oregon, but last fall needed to drive to Spokane from Clatskanie Oregon. The fastest way there was through Seattle.
When I moved from Seattle years ago there were no Indian Casinos (just smoke shops and fireworks stands that occasionally blew up). Now there are more Casinos visible from the freeway than McDonald's restaurants.
Also in the last 20 years Washington State has adopted a state lottery. The Washington State lottery currently advertises regularly on TV along site online poker sites.
Don't Write About Gambling In Washington
Washington State officials have interpreted the new law very broadly. Not only is gambling online illegal but linking to online casinos, hosting online casino advertising, or even talking about gambling. The irony of these positions hasn't escaped the eye of the Seattle Times. In a recent article the Times states:
All that, says the state the ads, the linking, even the discussing violates a new state law barring online wagering or using the Internet to transmit "gambling information."
"It's what the feds would call 'aiding and abetting,' " says the director of the state's gambling commission, Rick Day. "Telling people how to gamble online, where to do it, giving a link to it that's all obviously enabling something that is illegal."
The articles author, Danny Westneat, goes on to say:
Gambling officials told me The Seattle Times may be afoul of the law because we print a poker how-to column, "Card Shark," by gambler Daniel Negreanu. He sometimes tells readers to hone their skills at online casinos. And at the end of each column is a Web address, fullcontactpoker.com, where readers can comment.
According to the Washington State Gaming Commission:
The Washington State Gambling Commission was created to keep the criminal element out of gambling and to protect the public. The recently enacted
legislation supports the Commission's efforts at fulfilling that responsibility.
But in one added twist, not all online gambling is illegal. In 2004 the Washington State Legislature passed a law to bet on horse races online if you place the bet with a state licensed firm.
So the bottom line is you can legal gambling in card rooms in Washington, you go to Indian Casinos, you can by Washington Lottery Tickets, and you can play the ponies online. But don't play poker online, link to any poker sites, or even talk about online gambling on your website if you live in Washington.
Apparently online Casinos are putting the pinch on the states lively hood. Don't get in the way of the governor and his tax revenue, at least not in Washington.
Game, poker, online poker, online game