Sunday, July 08, 2007

Suit Filed Against Washington, Online Poker Ban 'Unconstitutional'

Last year, Washington State passed a law (SB 6613) that made online gambling a Class C Felony crime. Attorney Lee Rousso of Renton, Washington, alleges the bill to be unconstitutional and filed a suit against the state on Friday.

The lawsuit accuses SB 6613 of violating the Constitution's Commerce Clause and was enacted merely to benefit the 'brick and mortar'

establishments of the state. The lawsuit was accompanied by the release statement, "Most state attempts to regulate the internet run afoul of the Commerce Clause, and Washington's law, which was passed to protect the state's brick-and-mortar casinos from otherwise legal out-of-state competition, should be no exception."

Rousso is a veteran poker player and the Poker Player Alliance's representative in Washington State. He told a Seattle newspaper he believed his challenging of the law, the first so far, could very well be the last, "I think my chances are darn good."

Among Rousso's key points in the lawsuit, it specifically alleges State Senator Margarita Prentice, the writer of the original bill, accepted contributions from casinos in Washington, and that those casinos "were the intended and/or actual beneficiaries of SB 6613."

If declaratory judgment is laid down against the bill, the outcome Rousso is hopeful for, SB 6613 would become void and unenforceable. The Washington Gambling Commission chose not to provide a statement on the matter until the lawsuit could be reviewed by commission lawyers.

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