The US state of Washington is cracking down on online pokers sites in the United States. A Supreme Court ruling from September 2010 made internet gambling a Class C Felony in Washington State, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Because state gambling laws take precedence over American gambling laws, this ban on internet gambling is fully enforceable.
In early October, Poker Stars pulled out of Washington, banning all US players from the state. Now, six weeks later, poker site Full Tilt has done the same, disallowing all real-money poker play from players accessing the site from within the state of Washington (though Washington residents traveling out of state can still log in and play).
Full Tilt and PokerStars are the two largest online poker sites that allow gamblers to play online poker in the USA. Now that they have pulled the plug for millions of players because of new state laws, poker fans in other states are becoming concerned.
Interestingly, while Wasington moves to ban online gambling, the state of New Jersey is moving in the opposite direction, pushing to legalize online gambling within its borders. State senators have been discussing the issue, and some say they could push a bill through by the end of the year that allows residents to play poker online. This move would be a monumental achievement for the state, giving local Atlantic City casinos a tremendous opportunity to move online. The move could also set a strong precedent for legalizing online gambling throughout the USA.