Online gamblers argue for new deal

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Online gamblers argue for new deal
State Supreme Court hears arguments on Internet wagering cases


OLYMPIA – Is Internet poker just a 21st-century twist on the friendly game played around a kitchen table or “the crack cocaine of gambling”? That’s the question the Washington Supreme Court was asked to decide Thursday.

Online gambling is illegal in Washington, and should remain that way, Assistant Attorney General Jerry Ackerman said, because it can’t be regulated and monitored like casino gambling. Internet sites can’t prevent minors from playing, or cut off compulsive gamblers, he said.

But Lee Rousso, who is challenging the law, said the ban is “illegally protectionist” because it helps local gambling operations by banning out-of-state or out-of-country operations. Internet gambling sites are regulated, just not by the state, he said.

Some justices seemed skeptical of the legal distinction the state makes between games played in a casino or licensed card room, and on the Internet.

“Aren’t these the same games that are played in Indian casinos?” Justice Jim Johnson asked at one point.

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Jim Camden The Spokesman-Review
 
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