Washington Online Poker | Washington Poker Rooms
Washington Poker News
Posted 17 Mar 2012 by Matthew LeLacheur
Last week, Bovada began blocking anyone from the states of Maryland, New York, Utah and Washington from creating a new account on their site. It has been said that Bovada will soon also start blocking existing customers from Maryland. Bovada is the rebranded name that Bodog recently adopted for use in the USA player market.
As of yet, no official Bovada statement has been made regarding these changes. Three of the affected states (New York, Utah and Washington) currently have specific laws
Once the US Government seized the domains of several top poker sites, the future viability of online poker for the US market was very much in doubt. To be honest, we still have a lot of questions about when players will get their money back, where the next game might begin, and what the future regulation of online poker might look like. Some politicians and players think that Federal regulation will be able to solve the woes of the poker community and make everything consistent and clean. True as that may be, state regulation might provide the clearer path for poker players to get back into the online game. If that is the case, then we want players from each state to know their options. Today we are focused on Washington state and the future of poker players in the Pacific Northwest.
It is also important to know that as a Washington state resident, the mere act of playing online poker is currently a Class C Felony within state borders. Washington online poker remains an enormous question mark both now and in the future for that reason alone, and it would likely be one of the last states to regulate online poker at the intrastate level, considering the legal battles that have already been fought, culminating in the State Supreme Court’s Fall 2010 ruling that state residents can and should be prevented from playing. The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has lobbied within the state to uphold the right of players to seek out a game from within Washington state borders, but at the time of this writing, online poker in Washington is still not allowed.
Washington online poker is further limited by the fact that of the 28 casinos that are currently operating in the state, most are located on tribal grounds and run by tribal gaming commissions, as opposed to large national or global brands. This means that should any legislation open the door for the ‘big brands’ to offer online poker, Washington does not currently have many options for hosting them. Washington gaming law is designed to keep rather tight limits on the games, the hours of the casinos, and the variety of gaming options in each facility (Washington casinos cannot offer craps, roulette, or baccarat, for example), so the trend seems to be toward limiting gaming in Washington state, not expanding the options. Our best guess is that this desire to limit gaming will most likely continue to include online poker in Washington as well.
If you came here looking for good news about the future of Washington online poker, there are not a lot of realistic bright spots out there for you, unfortunately. One thing that we can say is that Washington residents can and should follow the US Department of Justice’s case against the big sites carefully, because if somewhere down the line this action or any other action opens the door for FEDERAL regulation of online poker, then Washington residents will have much to be enthusiastic about. It is hard to imagine that Federal legislation would not immediately overturn the current rulings in Washington state, and that is what state residents can hope for when it comes to the future of online poker in Washington. For now, however, brick and mortar card rooms within the state are spreading games daily, and they are probably the best option for poker players in Washington state. We will keep you up to date as the future of online poker comes into clearer focus, and until then, Good Luck at the Tables!