2 More Online Poker Sites to Leave Washington

Posted By: Date: 01/25/2011 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

For more than four years, proponents of online poker in the United States have argued the legality of playing real money poker over the internet. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) does not specifically criminalize the activity, but rather the responsibility of financial institutions to prevent transactions between online poker sites and US citizens.

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However, state legislators are also permitted to enforce their own laws regarding gambling and its legalities over the internet. The state of Washington has been making headlines a lot lately in this regard as the territory has express laws against online gambling. It’s not a federal crime, but online gamblers in Washington do face penalty if caught.

The Washington State Supreme Court just reinforced its laws against the activity when the Poker Players Alliances called for a change in the current statutes. The court found that its laws were perfectly acceptable, and chose not to alter any of its regulations that prohibit online gambling from within its borders. Anyone caught gambling over the internet would be charged with a Class-C Felony, the harshest penalty for online gambling in the United States.

It wasn’t long ago that the world’s largest online poker sites, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, evacuated their services from the state of Washington. PokerStars was the first to announce its withdrawal, and Full Tilt Poker was quick to follow.

PokerStars did notify its Washington members, however, that if they could prove themselves to have a physical address outside of Washington State, they would be permitted to continue playing at the online poker room.

The news has just gotten worse for online gamblers in Washington who continue to disregard the state’s legislation and persist with their gambling activities over the internet. Two more major gaming sites are abandoning the state.

This week, Matchbook.com and VIP Sports both announced their intention to discontinue service to residents of Washington, effective immediately. Letters went out via email to all o their effected account holders.

A little history on these two sports betting operators – Matchbook.com has always been open to all residents of the United States in the past. Washington is the first state the online sportsbook has eliminated from its roster of American clientele.

VIP Sports, on the other hand, actually pulled out of the US market back in 2007, but maintained that the company would continue to accept wagers from its pre-existing American members. The company is just now altering that stance to accept all sports bets from pre-existing US account holders except for online gamblers in Washington.