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Super Bowl Betting, Online Poker Illegal in Washington State

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jan/29/2009

It's that time of year again when everyone will be betting on the Super Bowl.....Everyone except those poor souls living up in Washington State.

That's because - as many Washington State citizens are aware - it is illegal to bet on the Super Bowl online in that jurisdiction. 

2006 was when Washington State Governor, Christine Gregoire, signed into law a measure that made betting online a Class C felony.  This is the only such state to explicitly make betting on the Web a crime comparable to that of child molestation and repeat drunk driving offenses.   Now it should be noted that the felony offenses do not apply to online horse-racing wagers.

Although the head of the state Gambling Commission at the time suggested that individual online gamblers were not likely to be targeted, Gambling911.com is learning that may no longer be the case.

Washington State wants to follow a similar path as the Kentucky commonwealth, which had a case against the online gambling industry overturned in an appeals court this month.  Gambling911.com sources have learned that authorities in Washington State are closely monitoring sports betting and online poker websites to ensure they are not directly targeting their citizens.   There is an operation ongoing.

If arrested, the penalties are stiff - as much as five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

"To say playing poker in card rooms is legal but that it's a felony to play online is insane," Kerry Welsh of Bellevue told the Seattle Post Intelligencer at the time the law was passed.

In 2005, revenue from online poker sites was estimated at between $1.5 billion and $2.6 billion in the United States, according to various gambling publications.  That number is believed to have increased worldwide despite measures making it more difficult for users to gamble with credit cards.

That is also money that could be going towards the state coffers, and some states are taking notice.  New Jersey, in particular, is looking to legalize online sports betting before year's end.

Again and again we point this out to our readers but Gambling911.com cannot emphasize enough:  If you gamble online in Washington State whether it is poker or on this weekend's Super Bowl....you are breaking the law!

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher 

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