An online bookmaker who tried to defy current American gambling laws has been officially made illegal by the Washington state supreme court. Seattle-based Betcha.com was ruled against in the case, which resulted in a unanimous decision by the court that the site qualified as illegal because “it arranged bets and took a percentage as a fee.”
Betcha.com had allowed users to bet on events “from [sports], to political contests, to whether the moon would be full on a given night,” according to the court opinion. Betcha had attempted to evade prosecution because of its unique method among online sportsbooks in the USA of taking bets which sometimes allowed losers the option not to pay up: A losing bettor had 72 hours to decide whether to pay up, with a denial of payment resulting in negative effects to the user’s “honor rating” on the website.
Though Washington state does allow gambling on Native American land and some non-tribal gaming such as poker rooms, blackjack and table games. The court relied on a state law which makes online gambling and bookmaking fees illegal together with the prevailing federal law defining Internet gambling law in the United States, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
The Washington Supreme Court also found Betcha.com guilty of misdemeanor possession of gambling records and guilty of felony transmission of gambling information over the Internet.