Casinos in Washington
Washington offers several forms of regulated land-based gambling, but the state isn’t very friendly towards real money gaming over the internet. Washington has a number of Native American and commercial casinos, which offer top slots, table games, and video poker machines. In addition, Washington residents are free to play bingo, wager on horse racing, or join the local state-run lottery.
Washington Gambling Laws
Gambling in Washington is covered by Washington Revised Code 4.24 and 9.46. In 2006, Washington lawmakers passed regulations that criminalize online gambling. In 2010, the Supreme Court of Washington confirmed that a law that makes the act of placing a bet online illegal does not violation the constitution of the United States. Consequently, playing at an offshore casino site is definitely illegal and is a Class C felony. Please note that while the local law enforcement hasn’t caught anyone playing online yet, the risk is very real as federal prosecutors have already used those regulations to confiscate money from various payment processing companies that cooperate with offshore gambling businesses.
“Whoever knowingly transmits or receives gambling information by telephone, telegraph, radio, semaphore, the internet, a telecommunications transmission system, or similar means, or knowingly installs or maintains equipment for the transmission or receipt of gambling information shall be guilty of a class C felony subject to the penalty set forth in RCW 9A.20.021.”
Washington doesn’t allow its residents to operate regulated online casino sites. Even worse, the officials are very serious about punishing people who play on offshore gambling sites from within the borders of the state. Consequently, even though most of those sites don’t really have to adhere to US gambling laws, they tend to refuse new Washington-based customers. This means that finding a trustworthy online casino site is very hard for Washington gambling enthusiasts, as most businesses prefer to avoid the negative publicity that would result from having one of their players charged with a felony.
Offshore Casino Sites That Accept Washington Players
The number of offshore casino sites that accept Washington players is extremely limited. Some of the more adventurous casinos have reportedly accepted Washington residents after 2010, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll continue doing so in the future. Consequently, Washington residents can’t really play on most US-facing Real Time Gaming casinos, which obviously also applies to Playtech and Microgaming-powered sites.
Some Washington residents may have old accounts on the sites that don’t have a clear policy preventing them from accepting players located within the borders of the state, but even then funding those accounts can get really troublesome. E-wallet services aren’t available to US-based players, while credit cards aren’t 100% reliable for online gambling purposes, as some of the transactions are simply blocked by the banks.
Developing Legal Scenarios
Online gambling prohibition is very likely to continue at least for a few year. The state has recently refused to pass a bill that would reduce the penalty for playing at online casino sites, which means that Washington lawmakers are pretty much determined to treat online gambling enthusiasts who simply want to pursue their hobby as criminals.