In a decision rendered on Monday, the state appeals court of the state of Washington upheld the 2006 law which banned online gambling and poker and made it an offense equal to that of child molestation.
Leading the charge in the Washington case was former gubernatorial candidate Lee Rousso, who is also an attorney and the state director for the efforts of the Poker Players Alliance. In his argument, Rousso stated that the enactment of the law violated the Commerce Clause of the U. S. Constitution. That clause prohibits any government, whether it is national or state, from enacting laws that inhibit interstate commerce. After a decision in May 2008 in a King County courtroom that found in favor of the law, Rousso decided to move on to the state’s appellate court.
In rendering their decision, the three members of the Washington appeals court once again agreed that Rousso did not demonstrate significant damage to out-of-state businesses as a result of the law. In addition to this decision, the appellate court also demonstrated their support of the value of the law – as state legislators have stated was the reason for its passage – on preventing growth in the social costs of gambling, such as problem and youth gambling. The court finally decided that Rousso has the burden to prove the law does more harm than is acceptable by the Constitution and that he had not reached that level of proof.
While this was a setback in overturning the law, the appeals court did determine that many of the states arguments for enacting it were rejected by the members of the court. Rousso has stated that this does leave the potential for a further appeal to the state’s Supreme Court.
The law enacted in the state of Washington in 2006 was an amendment of the state’s 1973 Gambling Act, which permits for local card rooms and casinos, to add in the banishment of the internet as a means to receive or transmit gambling information. It also changed the punishment for people who break this law from a misdemeanor to a Class C felony, equal to that of a child molester.

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