The Washington Supreme Court has ruled (again) against internet gambling. As a result of this decision against Poker Players Alliance (PPA) member Lee Rousso, PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, will no longer allow residents of Washington State to play for real money.
While internet gambling in the United States has always been increasingly awkward for American players, it has never previously been illegal for Americans to gamble online. Laws impeding American gambling were at the federal level. It was widely believed by legal experts that individual states were not constitutionally empowered to regulate Internet gambling, and moreover that they could not legislate in favor of local card halls to the discrimination of online poker sites.
This new ruling, by upholding the state’s gambling prohibition, may set a new precedent in the restriction of US players. While the law will undergo further challenges, in order to comply with the laws of Washington’s jurisdiction, residents of Washington will no longer be allowed to play with real money.
Residents of Washington State who have already deposited real money will not, however, lose any of the funds within their customer accounts. Moreover, the payment service teams will continue to assist Washington members with cash out requests. However, no word is presently available whether Washington residents who have not met play-through requirements will be allowed to make an early withdrawal as it seems unlikely they will be able to continue playing in order to fulfill these requirements.
Other online poker sites in the United States continue to accept American players, even those from Washington State. PokerStars, for its part, is lobbying for sane online poker regulation, which will not only provide governments with their needed revenues, but also better protect consumers. Its operations comply with multiple strident licensing regimes, including those conditions set by the Isle of Man (UK), Italy, France, and Estonia.