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Washington upholds online gambling ban

Western state’s Supreme Court ruled that current prohibition does not violate the US Constitution’s Federal commerce clause.

Wednesday 29th September 2010

In America, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week that the western state’s current ban on online gambling does not violate the Federal commerce clause of the US Constitution. Seattle lawyer Lee Rousso had challenged the state’s prohibition on the grounds that it put an impermissible burden on interstate and international commerce while favouring land-based venues over their online rivals. “The question before this Court is not whether Internet gambling including playing poker online should be illegal,” wrote Justice Richard Sanders in the Court’s nine to nil opinion. “That determination is reserved to the Legislature and the Legislature addressed the issue by enacting and amending RCW 9.46.240, which criminalises the knowing transmission and reception of gambling information by various means including use of the Internet. “Since sending and receiving gambling information is illegal, Internet gambling in the state of Washington is effectively banned. It is not the role of the judiciary to second-guess the wisdom of the Legislature, which enacted this ban. The Court has no authority to conduct its own balancing of the pros and cons stemming from banning, regulating or openly permitting Internet gambling.” The Court also provided a detailed analysis of what it referred to as the ‘dormant commerce clause’ while discussing other Federal legislation including the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 and the Wire Act of 1961 and asserting that Congress had not delegated the regulation of interstate Internet gambling. Justice Sanders also found that the state’s ban did not discriminate ‘against interstate commerce in favour of in-state economic interests’ while asserting that the law ‘equally prohibits Internet gambling regardless of whether the person or entity hosting the game is located in Washington, another state or another country’. “We are extremely disappointed in the Washington State Supreme Court's ruling given the clear evidence that the State Legislature never sought to regulate Internet poker as it does in-state bricks-and-mortar card rooms and Internet horseracing but instead simply banned Internet poker and, even worse, criminalised the players,” read a statement from the Poker Players Alliance, of which Rousso is a member. “This law is still a mistake and we will continue to fight to have it overturned.”

Source: OnlineCasinoNews

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