|Washington State has implemented a comprehensive ban of internet gambling. All online wagering, except on horse-racing, has been categorised as a class C felony, and carries either a five year prison sentence or $10,000 fine. The sentence is equivalent to the maximum penalty for possessing child pornography or threatening the governor. |
The law, passed almost unanimously by the state legislature on March 28th, is unlikely to prosecute individual gamblers and is aimed at bolstering the businesses of the state’s 24 tribal casinos and 94 house bank card rooms.
State Gambling Commission Director Rick Day says that the law is aimed at protecting gamblers who he believes will gave no recourse if they lose out on unregulated sites. The Commission is set to focus its attention on those who profit from online gambling and will launch an education campaign to warn online bettors they are breaking the law.
'The focus of our enforcement work will be at the larger level, the higher level, not the individual gambler,' Day says. 'That's not to say it's an open ticket ... I'm not saying we would not prosecute someone.'