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PokerStars Denies Social Games Access to Washington Residents

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Apr/12/2018

The state of Washington has decided to take a tougher stance on perceived real money gambling sites. PokerStars has decided to take a tougher stance on playing their games for free. In a recent post on PlaySlots4RealMoney.com by Philip Conneller, it was reported that the highly popular  poker site has blocked access to free-to-play games in the state of Washington.The State Gambling Commission in Washington recently stated that PokerStars is one of several providers of “freemium” social casino games that have taken this measure considering the current political atmosphere concerning certain legal matters. This is on the heels of a federal court judgement on the legality of the Big Fish social casino app.

The report goes on to say that ‘on March 28, the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals reversed a district courts dismissal of a lawsuit that accused Big Fish of providing illegal gambling under Washington State law’. The judge in this case was Milan D. Smith and he ruled that the use of virtual play-money chips in the Big Fish Casino could be regarded as “something of value” that constituted a gambling “stake”. This ruling suggests that any form of online gambling at real money casinos or social games casinos is illegal under current state laws.

The Gambling Commission released an official response to this matter. “Since the decision was published, we have become aware that some online social gaming websites, including PokerStars have proactively made the business decision to deny Washington residents access to their sites.” The statement quoted in this report goes on to say, “We are not a party to the civil court case, we did not testify in the case and we did not order these sites to discontinue free online play for Washington residents. Customers with concer ns should contact these websites directly.”The original lawsuit was initiated by Cheryl Kater. She claimed that she has spent over $1,000 on virtual playing chips during the course of playing casino games on Big Fish. The suit cited a clear violation of several Washington State statutes including the Recovery of Money Lost Gambling Act and the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

According to information contained in the PlaySlots4RealMoney.com post, Washington law defines real money gambling as “risking something of value on the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the person’s control or influence to receive something of value in the ev ent of a certain outcome.” This entire case hinges on whether the virtual chips constitute something of value.They have no direct monetary value. However, the broader-based opinion of Judge Smith expanded “value” to the “extension of a service, entertainment or a privilege of playing at a game or scheme without charge.”The report surmises that this ruling could ‘send a chill down the spine’ of a social casi no industry with estimated revenues in the billions. Big Fish Casino is owned by Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The consensus among industry insiders is that Big Fish will appeal this latest decision.

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