Everleaf Poker Should Never Have Been Allowing Washington State Citizens to Play

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Everleaf Poker Should Never Have Been Allowing Washington State Citizens to Play

We have finally learned after days of speculation that Everleaf Poker’s woes come from transmitting funds for online poker to and from the state of Washington.  It is the only state in the U.S. to make playing Internet poker a Class C felony and has done so since 2009 when the investigation into a payment processor utilized by Everleaf had commenced. 

Title 18 U.S.C 1084(b) was cited in the seizure affidavit issued by the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of information for use in news reporting of sporting events or contests, or for the transmission of information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest from a State or foreign country where betting on that sporting event or contest is legal into a State or foreign country in which such betting is legal.

Following a change of stance by the U.S. Justice Department in December, the Wire Act will no longer be applied to poker.  This policy change has allowed for individual states to now begin offering legalized online poker. 

Title 18 U.S.C 1084(b) suggests that states legalizing such activity will be able to engage in business with other states that do the same.  Likewise, they can engage in business with foreign nations that allow for legalized online poker, such as Costa Rica and Great Britain.  This provision, as it stands now, seems especially favorable to those sites operating outside the United States.  Federal legislation could look to override Title 18 U.S.C 1084(b).

It is important to note that the Washington field office has seized bank accounts of suspect payment processors in the past. 

In October and December 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle seized funds from bank accounts of Arrow Checks Inc., Blue Lake Capital Management and Logistics, and Secure Money Inc. as alleged proceeds of various Internet gaming operators, including Pokerstars, UltimateBet.com, and BetUS.com.

Washington is the only state in the U.S. that makes playing Internet poker, casinos or betting on sports a Class C felony, with sentencing similar to that of a repeat drunk driver, child molester or drug dealer. 

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher


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