Washington State Online Real Money Casino Guide

The regulations on US online gambling across the country have been through quite the hustle, with many interpretations on what is allowed and what is not, with states that have seen the opportunities that come along with a legal framework for Internet wagering and others that on account of their beliefs state against it. On that account, Washington online gambling is on the extreme side of restrictive actions taken against it. With a constant attitude against USA online casinos, Washington takes the battle to the next level, being one of the few states that have a clear specification that opposes Internet wagering.

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Overview on the Washington State’s Gambling Market

There are three main directions to take into consideration when speaking of betting in the state:

  • It takes one of the strongest anti-online gambling stances in the country, making it illegal for online gambling in Washington State, to be organized. Washington online poker has had some attempts at being regulated, but WA is far from becoming one of the legal online gambling sites.
  • The biggest off-line option for exerting betting are the tribal land based casinos, with more than 20 tribes running almost 30 casino businesses. The year 1999 has found these casinos on the upturn, after enabling them the use of slot machines, a move that gave them a clear advantage over their rivals: card rooms.
  • Early developed card rooms in which were, at first, allowed only non-banked games, but now get to offer poker, as well as blackjack. They have demanded the permit for slots machines being included in their offer, to compete with the tribal casinos, but were thus far denied all opportunities of doing so.

While further analyzing the current situation, it is easy to observe that while the tribal casinos have the largest spread, with the most options and gather the highest profit, somewhere around 2 billion dollars. But their paid taxes is zero, given the federal law protecting the Native-Americans and allowing them to use the amount that would’ve gone to the state’s income, for investments in the tribe’s needs. This means that the heavy burden of tax collecting falls on the shoulders of the lottery and the commercially owned card rooms. They total an amount of only 200 million dollars. Perhaps, under these conditions, by refusing to legalize online gambling, Washington denies itself an important means of income.

Land-based Casinos

Even before the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act came into effect, there was a lot of discussion on establishing the ground rules for legally wagering. First, the state constitution denied categorically all forms of gambling. Then, one by one, horse races were allowed and then bingo and raffles. When these were deemed unconstitutional, it was stipulated that a Gambling Commission had to be set in place, for it to regulate this particular domain. Thus, in 1971, the first “casino nights” were allowed, as a charitable event. This has been the first step towards gambling expansion, with card rooms following soon and finally the first agreement with an Indian tribe, for the opening of a stateside casino, all the way in 1992. With all of these measures put in motion, we would have expected that Washington state online gambling regulations would be a swift walk in the park, instead of the fierce struggle that this day presents.
But even these tribal casinos have a bit of a battle of their own. Recently, the Cowlitz tribe opened a state-of-the-art resort casino, near Portland, for a massive investment of over 500 million USD, containing a high number of slot machines, restaurants, and other facilities. However, regardless of all the excitement around this grand-opening, there were those who had nothing but to lose. The close-by establishment of the Grand Ronde tribe has blamed a loss of revenue of almost 40%. Taking into account the experience of this particular tribe, it’s hard to believe that many such tribes are going to welcome the US online gambling stage being expanded in this state.

Card Rooms

These establishments, have come into the public’s attention earlier on, in 1974 and represent the main competitor for tribal casinos, especially in the absence of any Washington online casino for real money sites. The state has a large number of poker rooms, more than many other states. But there aren’t any large card rooms. The highest number of poker tables in a single location is of 32. Most are grouped into bunches of 3-5 poker tables, usually hosted by bars.

Washington State Online Gambling

Based on causes that are currently eluding our understanding, the Gambling Commission has an unusually aggressive attitude against online gambling for Washington. This is among the few states that have specifically stated in its regulations a ban on Internet wagering activity. Besides the fact that the laws in the matter stipulate some of the fiercest punishments for illegal activities, the most interesting moment on this regard came in 2006, when lawmakers decided that felony charges can be pursued for those that use the Internet, among other means, to carry out any activity concerning gambling. Just to clarify the example, felony charges, in this case, can go up to 10000 USD fine, along with a maximum of 5 years imprisonment.
This being the case, it’s no wonder that no operator of online sports betting for Washington State wanted to take the chance and risk such penalties as are stated in the law. The same goes for any software provider or operator who wanted to base their business here and start some Washington online casinos.
Luckily for willing players, the changes in US online gambling regulations also affected the interpretations for the state law. After the rebuffing in 2011 of the Wire Act, all the restrictions and the rules mentioned before, only apply to operators and not to the average everyday player.

Legal Attempts

Not to understand from all stated above, that no attempts have been made to legalize some form of virtual betting. Following the trend of a much more relaxed view on online gambling in the US in general, several supporters have tried on different occasions to push a bill. Most debates have been around the legalization of online poker in Washington.
The most intense discussion happened in 2010, around the idea that residents had the right to play Internet poker and were not meant to become subject of a felony by doing this. This has seen the Supreme Court of Washington, which not only shut the idea down but even stated that it was among the state’s prerogatives to elaborate such punishments. The bills that followed didn’t get this much attention, often enough failing to receive even a hearing. What is indeed gratifying is that regardless of the hostility towards such a concept, the supporters of a bill that would legalize online poker aren’t yet giving up.

Other options

Given the ever-changing stance against Washington online casinos and the apparent worsening of conditions, any online gambling US player is advised to constantly be up to date with the latest news on this subject. For the moment, the options of playing in online casinos refer exclusively to those websites that have their business based outside the state, mostly being licensed in different countries, like Curacao, Malta or Canada, to name a few. As is the best example of a renowned website Bovada Casino. Bovada is legal in Washington and is residents’ favourite online casino brand. Seeing how it is not based in the US, it can offer its gaming services to citizens of this specific state, without fear of repercussions both from the site’s point of view, as well as from its players.

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FAQ
Can I gamble online in WA?

There is no Washington online casino available. Only offshore-based websites, which need carefully reviewing before joining their games. Luckily there are some sites that do just that and playing on their recommendations, means not to worry about verifying licenses, security measures or authenticity.

Is online poker legal in Washington State?

No for the moment. Although online poker in Washington State has been constantly pushed for legalization, it was not a successful endeavor so far. The only remaining option is that of reviewed and verified websites from other jurisdictions.

What is the minimum legal gambling age in Washington?

The minimum classical gambling age applies to online gambling in Washington State, as well. Thus, although it’s been stated at 18, the recommendations are to align with the general US online gambling age of 21.

How can you withdraw your winnings in Washington?

Given the restrictions of Washington online gambling, the rules that apply when withdrawing money are those set by the websites you play at. Check out the terms and conditions stated on the site. Any online casino accepting Washington players is going to demand a means of payment that includes extra verification, such as wire transfer. They need more days to be accomplished but are the safest way.

How about future prospects on legislative relaxation on the online gambling domain?

Online gambling Washington State law has had some bills being pushed for legalizing poker, without any real success. We can, therefore, assess that no online casino in Washington is to be seen anytime soon.

Additional Sources:

https://www.wsgc.wa.gov/news/gambling-legislation-2019
http://mrsc.org/Home/Explore-Topics/Public-Safety/Licensing-and-Regulation/Gambling-in-Washington-State.aspx
https://www.jobmonkey.com/casino/washington/