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Is Online Gambling Legal in Washington?

As touched on briefly above, online gambling in Washington is not permitted and players should steer away from online gambling in any way, shape or form as it’s classified as a felony, not a misdemeanor. While it’s mostly operators who will land themselves in hot waters, responsibility still falls on the player to know what falls within the parameters of the law. The law explicitly states that penalties will be imposed if players are caught violating the state law, although, none have ever been persecuted for such an offence

Online poker is always the first gambling product to be tabled for change and over the years, there have been numerous efforts to regulate it, all of which have been unsuccessful. Online poker operators, Full Tilt and PokerStars were given the green light to operate intrastate, however, players from Washington had to be excluded and the site blocked to the users. In 2016, a fresh attempt at legalizing online poker was presented but the bill didn’t get through past it’s deadline. 

All other online games are also prohibited and there were no updates regarding the possibility of change. In reality, if online poker is long way to go, then all other games of chance are light years away from legalization. However, once online poker is regulated, it will only be a matter of time before other gambling products will be pushed for regulation. 

Land-Based Casinos in Washington

Fortunately, players looking to engage in card games or looking to spin the reels can still do in one of the many land-based casinos that are in operation in Washington. The quality of land-based casinos in Washington is on par with many of those in Nevada, although you won’t find the same elaborate buildings and fancy casino hotels. There are 35 Indian Tribal casinos alone which offer the whole range of casino games, including blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps. Indian Gaming Class II authorized games are ones which are played against other players include bingo, Mega Mania bingo machines, progressive pull tabs, poker, rocket bingo machines and wildfire pull tab machines.

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Poker Rooms in Washington 

The poker community is always debating with lawmakers that poker is not a game of chance but a game of skill that requires a great knowledge of the game to be successful and make a profit. This is usually why online poker is the first to be considered for regulation, out of all casino games. There are a number of poker rooms in Washington where players can engage in a variety of games, including cash games, sit n’ go’s, tournaments as well as satellite tournaments where the prize is an entry for an even bigger poker tournament, for instance, the World Series of Poker. Poker rooms are usually situated inside local casinos and while some will still be labelled as casinos, they mostly offer poker games. 

Is Sportsbook Legal In Washington? 

The United States now has 20 states which have regulated sports betting within their borders and the ones which haven't are looking on closely. Currently, sports betting is prohibited in Washington and there hasn’t been any news or updates regarding  change in legislature. In states where sports betting is legal, punters will still need to head down to licensed bookmakers, usually situated inside casinos and don’t have the same flexibility as punters who are betting online.

People in favour of legalizing sports betting argue that the state has 29 land-based casinos and a huge selection of lotteries and it makes no sense legalizing one type of betting over another. Sixth Legislative Dist. Sen. Michael Baumgartner has the following to say about the matter “It’s especially strange because the biggest proponent of gambling in this state is the state itself, with the lottery,” he said, noting that, because buyers of lottery tickets tend to come from the lower socio-economic classes, the lottery is effectively a “tax on the poor.”

Daily Fantasy Sports 

Fantasy leagues are allowed in most states across America, with millions of players across the country participating every year. Fantasy leagues is considered a game of skill and the only way it could be legalized in Washington is by proving to lawmakers that it is so. 

It takes a great amount of time and effort to stay abreast with fantasy leagues, regardless of the sport chosen and many factors need to be taken into consideration to even stand a chance of being successful. Participants will be given a budget to take control of their team and need to stay updated on fixtures, injuries, player forms, statistical data, to name a few, which clearly makes it a skill game rather than a game of chance. 

Lotteries In Washington

There are eight lotteries available to be played in Washington but players looking to try their luck will need to head over to licensed retailers to get their hands on lottery tickets. Most of the lotteries in Washington have colossal jackpot prizes which operate intrastate and the following lists all the lotteries available:

  • Powerball.
  • Mega Millions.
  • Lotto.
  • Hit 5.
  • Match 4.
  • Daily Game.
  • Daily Keno.
  • Scratch.
  • Gambling Age in Washington.

In almost all states in America, the gambling age is 21 for playing casino games and 18 for playing lotteries. 

Regulated vs Non Regulated Online Gambling Market

There are many reasons why a regulated market online gambling market will be advantageous to all parties involved:

Regulated Market
Non-Regulated Market
Players will be protected from fraud
Players are not protected by a regulating body
State will have control over gambling licenses
State has no oversight over gambling activity
Illegal gambling will decrease
Illegal gambling will keep increasing
Gambling tax revenues will increase
Gambling tax revenue will depend on industry growth
More flexibility for players when playing online
Players will need to travel to play 
Competition will create better odds
Competition can be colluded 

If online gambling is regulated, the state will have more control and regulating bodies will be in tandem with the state to ensure players’ safety and security are prioritized when gambling online. Another huge plus of having a regulated online gambling market is the fact that it will help eradicate illegal gambling activity while at the same time reducing money laundering from illegal gambling, which fuels the black market economy.

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A Final Word on Gambling in Washington

If you’re looking to gamble online in Washington, think again, as all online gambling is deemed illegal, which can lead to heavy fines for repeat offenders. Fortunately, there is a healthy selection of land-based casinos and poker rooms to choose from for gamblers to enjoy their favourite games. Here at, we’re committed to bringing you the latest news and advancements in any changes in the law as it happens.