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In the United States of America there are many different laws that apply only in certain states. Washington State for example has laws that prohibits engaging in online gambling, both for poker and casinos, making these activities a felony.

Recently the law there was challenged by the Washington State branch of the Poker Players Alliance and after going to trial court and the appeals court now the case is before the Washington State Supreme Court.

State Director of the Poker Players Alliance Lee Rousso presented the case challenging the law under the Commerce Act. This Act points out that no state can pass legislation that discriminates against a section of any particular industry. the Washington legislation discriminates against the online gambling industry.

Mr. Rousso argues that the legislated law is biased against the online gambling industry. The argument contends that if a person playing poker or other casino games is in a land based casino then they are legal but the same activity online is a felony. It was suggested that the only benefit of the Washington State law is for the aboriginal tribal owned casinos that don’t want the competition from online gambling sources.

Assistant Attorney General, Jerry Ackerman, represented the State of Washington, and said to the court that online gambling cannot be regulated and is therefore unsafe.

Thomas Goldstein, who spoke for the online gambling industry said that it was not sufficient for the state to claim that online gambling cannot be regulated and they had failed at the two previous court hearings to prove that online gambling could not be controlled or regulated. Goldstein also added there are many instances of regulated online gambling in other jurisdictions and the State of Washington allows for online betting on the horses.

Justice, Jim Johnson, questioned Ackerman, “Aren’t these the same games that are played in Indian casinos?” Ackerman said the Indian casinos were allowed because federal legislation required them to do so. The judges pointed out that the state receives a substantial fee from the Tribal casinos dismissing Ackerman’s contention.


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