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Washington state online gambling ban challenged

Discussion in 'Casinomeister's Poker Room' started by jetset, Jul 8, 2007.

    Jul 8, 2007
  1. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    WASHINGTON LAWYER CHALLENGES INTERNET POKER BAN

    Constitutional violation and protectionism cited

    A Renton, Washington lawyer has filed a lawsuit challenging the Washington state ban on Internet poker, the Seattle Intelligencer newspaper reports.

    Lawyer Lee Rousso (49) filed his complaint in the King County Superior Court, claiming that the 2006 ban on internet poker is a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause, which prohibits individual states from enacting laws that discriminate against interstate businesses.

    Rousso, a poker player who has experience in both land tournament and online poker, says the ban, which makes online poker a Class C felony smacks of protectionism for the widespread internal state gambling industry, which embraces almost every other form of gambling.

    Rousso, who is the Washington representative of the 570 000 strong Poker Players' Alliance pressure group said the "first legal challenge to the law also should be the last." The lawyer told the Seattle Intelligencer that he thought his chances of success in overthrowing the law were "darn good."

    The complaint lists seven points to illustrate why the Washington State law is unconstitutional, and specifically notes that the author of the original bill, State Sen. Margarita Prentice, received contributions from the Washington casinos, alleging that these companies "were the intended and/or actual beneficiaries of SB 6613." Rousso is seeking a declaratory judgment against the bill, which would render it void and unenforceable.

    The Washington state ban came into law on Bill SB 6613 in the state last year and prohibits Internet based card and other casino games.

    A spokeswoman for the Washington Gambling Commission, Susan Arland said their lawyers have not yet seen the lawsuit and would comment only after they have read it. "We don't have anything to say just just yet," said Arland.

    Rousso said the state law is "flawed", arguing that the state measure was passed not to put the state in compliance with the federal Wire Act. "Instead," he said, it "protects the in-state gambling industry, including card rooms and casinos."

    "This," said Rousso, "puts Washington in clear conflict with the Constitution's Commerce Clause", which forbids individual states from passing protectionist laws against other state's business.
     
    4 people like this.
  2. Nov 22, 2007
  3. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Update

    ROUND ONE GOES TO WASHINGTON IN ONLINE GAMBLING ROW

    Challenge to Washington state online gambling ban bogs down on discovery motion

    The strategic use of the discovery provision in American law has resulted in a lawsuit challenging the validity of an online gambling ban in the state of Washington bogging down.

    The law suit was launched by Seattle lawyer and Poker Players' Alliance representative Lee Rousso on grounds that the state's law making it a Class C felony to gamble on the Internet fails to comply with the Wire Act passed by the federal government, which has never extended criminal liability to the players.

    Writing in a PPA appraisal of the challenge, Rousso comments: "First, the state has won the first round in court. The state's strategy, not surprisingly, is to avoid a hearing on the merits of the case. As part of the strategy the state has made what I consider outrageous discovery requests."

    Rousso goes on to reveal that lawyers acting for Washington state have demanded unspecified information that is confidential and could compromise his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Requests for a protective order from having to produce the information were denied by the King County Superior Court hearing the challenge.

    The feisty lawyer is not giving up on the action, however. He has filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals, Division One, and has a contingency plan if that is rejected: "I have a substituted plaintiff lined up who could step into my shoes and pursue the exact same Constitutional challenge to Washington's law," Rousso said. "However, by the time I exhaust my appeals and re-file with another plaintiff, we will be well into 2008."

    Washington state permits almost every other kind of gambling available, and many observers believe that the online gambling ban and the draconian penalties it imposes (see previous InfoPowa reports) is nothing more than protectionism of the in-state land gambling industry. Some have gone so far as to suggest that it puts Washington perilously close to violation of the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause, which forbids individual states from passing protectionist laws against other states' business.

    Rousso also has a political campaign card up his sleeve, and is mobilising local PPA members to get involved: "I believe that I have an effective strategy in place for changing this state's uniquely oppressive Internet poker law. I will be revealing that strategy to the public on or about Jan. 14, 2008, opening day of the 2008 legislative session here in the Evergreen State," he says.

    Rousso is a busy man; he is also supervising the defence of three other Seattle residents in the Betcha.com case. Nicholas G. Jenkins (38); Josie M. Imlay (24); and Peter M. Abrahamsen (25), are scheduled to appear before a Louisiana court early next (2008) year on charges of gambling over the Internet following a sting operation carried out on the Betcha.com site by the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division. The operation, and the subsequent extraditon request from Louisiana to Washington (see previous InfoPowa reports) netted the nascent Betcha.com a mere 70 cents, and carries potential penalities of 5 years in prison or a fine of $20 000!
     
    2 people like this.
  4. Apr 14, 2008
  5. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Update

    ROUSSO COURT DATE CHANGED IN ONLINE GAMBLING CHALLENGE

    Washington dispute will now be heard May 15

    After many months of legalistic stonewalling by Washington state representatives, it looks as if Seattle lawyer Lee Rousso is at last to get his day in court to challenge the constitutional legality of draconian state bans on Internet gambling.

    Probably hoping to bury Rousso's challenge in demands for volumes of personal information, Washington state legal representatives have for months delayed the hearing as part of the discovery process. Rousso fought this on grounds that certain information is personal, confidential and is entitled to Fifth Amendment protection.

    Initially defeated on this aspect by the King County Superior Court, Rousso took the issue on appeal, and this week secured a largely favourable ruling from Judge Mary E. Roberts that enables him to move forward with the real case - a challenge to the Washington state laws on online gambling after one more requirement is answered.

    Rousso, a lawyer and the state representative for the Poker Players Association, is questioning the constitutionality of Washington's player-centred online gambling ban, and keeps PPA members informed of progress on the PPA website.

    He contends that there is a strong and constitutionally illegal element of protectionism in legislation passed by a state that has licensed many other forms of (land) gambling despite its moralistic claims. Protecting the state's licensed gambling venues would be a violation of the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause forbidding individual states from passing protectionist laws.

    Rousso's court date has now been postponed to May 15 from the original April 25, and the PPA is encouraging those members who can to make an appearance at the court in a show of solidarity.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Apr 30, 2008
  7. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    WASHINGTON BAN CRITICISED

    Potential governor Dino Rossi against draconian punishments for online gambling

    Despite the withdrawal of the Poker Player Alliance state director Lee Rousso from the Washington state race for the governorship, online players may have a new champion in a state made infamous among gamblers by the draconian nature of the punishments for offenders. This week candidate Dino Rossi addressed the issue on a wide ranging Seattle radio talk show, saying that he would not have signed such a law.

    Taking part in a long interview on the Dori Monson show at 710 KIRO, the candidate was asked for his position on current anti-online gambling law, which classifies the pastime as a C class felony and allows for the imposition of up to 10 years imprisonment. Rossi responded by saying "I never would have signed that bill," adding that such severe penalties put online gambling in Washington state in a category similar to that applied to child pornography, with long term social consequences for those convicted.

    "You have some college kid that's playing poker on his computer and you're going to give him a felony for it. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't fit the crime," said Rossi before commenting that he would be prepared to join political initiatives to overturn the law.
     
    2 people like this.
  8. May 1, 2008
  9. BBKPoker

    BBKPoker halfway to busto PABrogue3

    Occupation:
    None
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Seattle, Vancouver BC, Auckland
    Too bad that guy is such an asshole that even with his position on poker, I still wouldn't vote for him.
     
  10. May 1, 2008
  11. GaryWatson

    GaryWatson Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Marketing Consultant
    Location:
    Europe
    Show me a politician thats in it for the people and ill introduce you to Elvis
     
  12. May 9, 2008
  13. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Update

    ONLINE GAMBLING BAN CHALLENGE NEXT WEEK

    PPA plans to support Rousso in fight against Washington state's draconian anti-online gambling law

    Lee Rousso, the feisty lawyer who represents the Poker Players Alliance in Washington state, will have his organisation's support next Thursday, when he at last gets his day in court to challenge tough state laws on online gambling.

    After many months of mainly state inspired delays on legal technicalities which demanded seperate court arguments, Rousso will face off against the state on its online gambling ban, protesting at punishments in the C-class felony category that seem to equate online gambling with heinous crimes such as torturing animals, possessing child pornography or threatening the governor.

    The case will be heard in King County Superior Court in Kent, Washington, May 15 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Pacific Time) and the PPA is planning a rally outside the court at which top poker aces Barry Greenstein and Andy Bloch will appear to show solidarity with Rousso in his challenge to the constitutionality of Washington's online gambling ban.

    Rousso claims that Washington state's ban fails to comply with the US federal Wire Act, which does not make online gamblers liable for prosecution, whereas the Washington law makes it a serious offence to gamble online. He is also arguing that the state imposed its ban to protect its own interests in the many and diverse land gambling activities approved by the state, claiming that such protectionism is in violation of the US Constitution's commerce clause, which forbids individual state legislation of this nature.

    The Washington state ban was highlighted this week by the respected Card Player magazine, which conducted an excellent interview with Dino Rossi, currently a candidate seeking to unseat Washington state governor Christine Gregoire in forthcoming elections.

    Answering a question on the draconian nature of the penalties laid down for Washington residents caught gambling online, Rossi said he would not have supported such harsh punishment, and commented:

    "Well, it seems really excessive in the penalties they put forward, because if you really look at this, what theyve done is that theyve made it a felony. And it would clearly ruin someones life if they have a felony - its up to five years in prison.

    "And if you want look at which other crimes are basically equal in nature in the eyes of the law now that this law is passed, its the same types of penalties for possessing child pornography, threatening the governor, or torturing an animal.

    "I mean, in our state, you could have five DUIs before you can even serve time. You could steal nine cars in our state before actually getting any jail time. But, somehow, playing poker online rises to that level."

    Rossi narrowly missed defeating Gregoire in 2004, and may have more success this time around.

    In the meantime, online gamblers who would like to support Rousso in his action will find the court at the Maleng Regional Justice Center, 401 - 4th Avenue North in Kent, Washington.

    You must register/login in order to see the link.
     
    2 people like this.

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