Washington Legal Poker 2017

Washington

Finding legal poker sites in Washington isn't the same as finding them in other parts of the Union. While some states in the USA have pushed on with regulation, and many sit on the fence, Washington lawmakers have made their feelings very clear.

Washington is one of the few US states that has banned online poker WA websites outright. Under a new amendment made in 2006, it became a Class C felony to gamble online within state borders. In 2010, many US sites stopped taking real-money poker deposits from players in the Evergreen State.

Specifically, state policy recommends that, "it is the policy of this state to prohibit all forms and means of gambling, except where carefully and specifically authorized and regulated." Clearly, the online poker WA legal landscape is way less favorable to poker players than other states.

However, private - or “social'”- poker games fall under current state law and it is hoped that Washington will reconsider its position on online poker Washington websites in time. For now, state residents must play at any of the great legal poker rooms on the web that are unregulated. Risk of arrest is a possibility, although as yet, no one has been prosecuted for playing online poker in the Evergreen State.

Are Any Online Bills Likey?
Washington - Are Any More Bills Likely?

While there have been numerous challenges to the 2006 amendment of Washington law - including one brought by an online player in 2010, Lee Rousso, which made it all the way to the State Supreme Court - no new legislation surrounding online poker's legality has been so far made. Until further notice, the online poker WA legal situation is pretty clear.

Two proposed bills - the Washington State Internet Poker Act of 2014 (WSIPA) and the Internet Poker Player Decriminalization Act of 2014 (IPPDA) - have been put forward by WA poker pro Curtis Woodward and a group of fellow players.

Both proposals are being reviewed by the Washington State Code Reviser's office.

Elsewhere, Senator Paul Harris has tried to push through legislation that would reduce playing poker online from a Class C felony to a "Class 3 Civil Infraction", which carries a more punitive fine of $50. HB 1824 has so far failed to take hold.

What's the Live Poker Scene Like?
Washington - What's the Live Poker Scene Like?

Although Internet poker is banned, it doesn't mean poker is banned totally. In fact, "social card games" are covered in state legislature, and under Chapter 9.46 RCW of the 1973 Gambling Act, "authorized card games may include a house-banked or a player-funded banked card game."

Therefore, as in California, Washington State boasts dozens of top cardrooms that are open to the public, and the scene is understandably thriving.

Also, as in some states that have virulent anti-poker laws, some of the tribal casinos that operate outside the state's jurisdiction offer card games.

The Future of Legal Poker In WA
The Future of Legal Poker In WA

Whether the state legalizes and regulates WA sites online poker may rest with any federal law that is passed. Certainly, as of March 2017, no intrastate laws governing web poker look likely.

Also, any opt-in for Washington into a potential federal law would depend on the tribal casinos coming along for the ride. . If they see money and big advantages in making online poker WA site legal, it could be good news.

In 2012, Glen Gobin, secretary of the Tulalip Tribal Council in Washington and one who had been against gambling online legislation, was one of those calling for federal regulation of Internet gaming, with tribal casinos' interest squarely at heart. Having Native American gaming partners with vested interests is seen as key in states like Washington in getting any new regulation passed.

FAQ

Can I Play Online Poker Legally in Washington?

No. Under a 2006 amendment, any bets made via, "telephone, telegraph, radio, semaphore or the Internet" will be guilty of a class C felony. (We can't imagine what Semaphore Poker would be like but we're guessing it would be pretty slow.) Some people take risks and play at online poker WA sites run by offshore companies. While depositing and cashing out is not a problem, playing at online poker Washington sites run offshore isn't something we condone.

What Age Do You Have to be To Gamble In Washington?

21 or over. That's true for any type of gambling available now, and it will likely be the same should legal poker sites in Washington become available.

Are There Any Live Casinos in Washington?

There are several dozen tribal casinos operating within WA borders under the federal Indian Gaming Act. Some casinos offer poker. Meanwhile, licensed cardrooms limited to 15 tables per gaming room offer real-money games. . While the limited number tables is far less than what you'd find at legal poker sites in New Jersey run by international companies, it's still a fairly decent number for live play.

Tulalip Resort Casino in Marysville offers a quality live poker room with some high limits. State casinos and cardrooms won't trouble some of the bigger establishments in Las Vegas or California, however, and none are big enough to host a major global tournament stop.

Can I Make Real Cash Deposits In Washington?

Few sites accept real-money poker deposits from state residents, so play money or subscription-based poker online is the best bet for WA players. If you find an online poker Washington site that accepts players, just make sure you know the law before you play.