Legal Washington Online Poker

If you live in the State of Washington, it's no surprise that you might be confused on whether it is legal to play online poker within the state's borders. That's because hundreds of Washington residents like you play online poker for cash anytime the mood hits them, despite the state's statutes say.

Picture still not getting any clearer? Don't worry because that is what is going to do, break down the myths and support the facts - the reality of playing poker online in Washington. We'll be honest, the laws aren't very friendly in terms of their language, but we're going to explain more about how they fail to translate to those playing on their computers, plus show residents where the best places are to play. And by places, we mean the online poker sites that accept WA players... the ones where residents won't get into any trouble.

Is Online Poker Legal In Washington?

This is the question that is on most minds when they come to this site, and we're going to answer it honestly. As you will read when going further down the page, the online poker laws in Washington have language in them which actually make online gaming "illegal" for residents of the state.

You might wonder why we put that in quotes, and it's because it is practically impossible to enforce those laws. No authority in Washington has the power subpoena records for any online poker site that operates offshore, and since no online poker room dare to operate inside Washington itself, that pretty much leaves every poker site out there. There are some websites that do not allow WA players, but it's not because they can get into trouble, but it's for other reasons such as difficulty with deposits + payouts.

So, lets look at that question again with what we know now... Is it legal? No, but you're not going to get into any trouble when playing with legal poker sites like the ones outlined below. has already done the research and has found out which ones are, and which ones aren't open to residents. Know that when viewing the suggested poker rooms on this site, the fact that you live in Washington has been accounted for.

Online Poker Sites That Accept Washington Residents

While the following poker websites are not regulated by any state or governing body within the U.S., these are licensed and legitimate businesses in the counrties where they operate. In some cases, these websites are based in Costa Rica or Panama (ones in the UK, Canada don't typically allow any USA players) so don't be alarmed when you realize these websites are not based in the United States. Not being in the U.S. provides them + their users with added security against any online poker legislation which could be used against them.

BetOnline Poker - Anyone Meeting WA Age To Play Poker Is Allowed To Play Here

Washington poker players listen up because there is a great online site that you can legally sign up to play for real cash. BetOnline's poker room accepts Washington residents at their site when others won't, and gives them the chance to lay down cash to win big. Not only does BetOnline let players bet for real cash, but they also give them the option to receive a ton of money though their bonus program.

The main bonus that poker players living in Washington can receive at BetOnline is a lifetime deposit bonus of $900 on every deposit they make to their accounts. And at BetOnline, lifetime means lifetime, because this doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon. The way this bonus is calculated depends on how a player chooses to deposit, with the match on the bonus set at 15 percent or 25 percent depending on the method. Either way, it's a great option to check out.

Bovada Poker - $100k Online Poker Tournaments Held Each Sunday

Washington residents have been clamoring for a review of the best site in the country for online betting, and after much ado, we have finished our search and bring to you the crème de la crème, the big dog of the poker world. Bovada is the name that we found most often when looking for quality poker rooms online and after spending just a few minutes on their site we knew that they were by far the best site for online poker that has ever existed.

Many people think that what makes a great online poker site is the interface, or the size of the player base, or some other myriad of things that doesn’t actually have to do with poker. Washington residents though are smarter than that, they wanted hard hitting evidence that showed why a site was the best. With this online poker room for Washington residents, evidence is abound. Perhaps the biggest draw is the welcome bonus. Whenever a new player joins they will be able to get 100% of their deposit bonus back as bonus money. In order to do this they simply need to play enough poker to unlock all the increments of the bonus. Full details are listed on the site and they will show how much easier things are with Bovada than just about any other site on the web. The bonus is just the beginning too, if we had time we could ramble on for days about all the features of Bovada, but if you want to know more there isn’t any better source than Bovada itself.


SportsBetting Poker - From The Dalles, To Pullman, To Pugeot, All Are Welcome

SportsBetting accepts poker players from Washington to come and join their site with open arms. They give plenty of good reasons to do so as well. Whether it's the available poker game options, the quality of service as far as customer service, easy options for getting money into a player accounts when they're ready play for real money, or fast payout times, is a great option to play poker online.

To get to the online poker tables hosted within SportsBetting, a quick download of the software is required. This can be done once the account and login for the site is created by the player. SportsBetting is very safe, secure and wants their players to know that they are taken care of. If ever a question arises, the 24/7 customer service will be available.

More About The Legality Of Playing Online Poker In Washington

Because you might not be ready to just jump into playing poker online for real money, you can get more info about the legal aspects involved when playing Internet poker in Washington in the following sections. We've got a synopsis of the laws that prohibit online gaming sites in WA, plus an update on the push to get online gambling regulated in individual U.S. states. As soon as Washington can regulate the online game, and protect it's gambling revenues, residents will not need to worry about any of this... not that they have much to worry about now.

Washington Online Poker Laws

In 2006, a bill sponsored by Senator Margarita Prentice, senator of the Washington district with the most casinos and land based poker rooms, expressly outlawed online poker. That bill was upheld by a court decision in 2011. Though Washington state officials go out of their way to point out that no online poker players have ever been prosecuted, it is still true that the act of placing wagers at an online poker site in Washington can result in a Class C felony. That means that online poker players in Washington are on the same level as child molesters. The purpose of the bill, according to Senator Prentice, was to prevent gambling site operators from doing business with citizens of Washington, not to put poker players in prison. Why then the provision for a felony charge against poker players?

For fans of legal online poker in Washington State, even state-regulated online poker would be preferable to the threat of a felony charge for playing the game they love. Why the crackdown against online poker? A similar type of thing is happening all over Europe. Governments are banning online poker to force poker players into their state operated online and land based casinos. Washington is clearly trying to protect their state gambling industry against increased competition from offshore poker sites.

The American government is just starting to show signs of letting up. When the Department of Justice clarified that the Wire Act of 1961 applies only to sports wagers, it was a signal to state governments that they could pursue revenue-generating poker and gambling networks, and many are already doing so. Not so in Washington, even though the clarification of the Wire Act means once and for all that there are no federal laws against playing Internet poker.

Washington is one of three states with harsh gambling laws that would prevent the state government from trying to regulate poker within the state borders. The other two, Washington and Louisiana, don't have nearly the same level of harsh penalty for online poker players, placing Washington solidly in the lead among anti-gambling states. Online poker fans in Washington shouldn't expect too much development towards regulated poker any time soon.

Online Poker Regulation In Washington

Washington currently has no online poker legislation that would allow for players to play at a state-regulated site. However, there are some interesting developments on that front, with the possibility of two bills being brought to the table in the future, provided that they get enough support from the residents in the state. The poker movement in Washington will require 300,000 signatures by January 2014, to then be put to a vote in November of 2014.

The first initiative is I-582, which is a piece of legislation that aims to make online poker in the state legal. This would only cover online poker, and would not allow for legal online casinos or legal online sports betting in Washington. The Washington State Gambling Commission would take the lead on this to form licensed Internet poker rooms that Washington residents would be able to play. It is certain that this would be taxed, however the specifics of what that tax rate would be have not be formulated at this time, halfway through 2013.

The other piece of legislation is Washington Initiative I-583. As it stands now, playing online poker in the state is a Class C felony. Penalties would include a $10,000 fine, and jail time of up to five years. This bill seeks to put an end to these penalties for online poker players, so long as they are not behind the operation of an illegal site in the state.

Is it Legal to play Land Based Poker in Washington?

Good news for poker pros and beginners alike in Washington, Poker is in fact legal. Washington does strictly limit where Poker can take place, but that is pretty much the same as any state with some form of gambling. Essentially only certified poker rooms are going to be open to those looking to play, but having certified poker rooms at all is leaps and bounds ahead of many states.

Washington law specifically states that its goal is to limit the criminal activity related to poker and other forms of gambling while still allowing the people to decide for themselves whether or not to risk their money. It is a very open law that seeks to regulate and control where poker is played, but otherwise lets players have all the freedom they would have if playing in a more well-known gambling state like Nevada.

The secret to their regulation is very strictly differentiating between legal and illegal poker rooms. Legal rooms are regulated by the state and need a license in order to operate. Often these rooms will be in big casinos who already have the money and clout to get registered as official rooms. Those trying to run a poker room without a license therefore have legal competition which detracts from their value. In addition those operating these rooms are subject to felony charges if caught and a law in Washington allows losers of illegal gambling to file a suit against winners for their money back.

Legal Land Based Poker Rooms in Washington

Washington has several reputable and legal poker rooms that offer tournaments for poker players hoping to win big.  There are 4 different Casinos that operate legal poker rooms in the state of Washington and all of them offer various tournaments throughout the week for poker fans.

There is the Angel of the Winds Casino in Arlington, WA, The Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, The Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights, and last but certainly not least the Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip.

The tournaments range in size at all the Casinos but the biggest buy-ins are at Tulalip by a mile. For those hoping to find a wide variety of poker games to play, land based options may be a disappointment unfortunately. No limit Hold ’em is the name of the game for most casinos in Washington. One offers Part Limit Omaha 8, but then it doesn’t have any tournaments that aren’t Omaha 8.

As always friendly games at home are certainly safe in Washington due to their focusing mainly on illegal poker rooms rather than individual games. Poker players at home will find more flexibility in what they can play at their home as they make the rules. With friends any form of poker can be played and the winnings and chi- ins will always be dependent on each other’s wallets. While this could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing it certainly means an easier time finding a table.

The pickings for legal poker in Washington certainly aren’t slim, even if they may not be as flexible or profitable as one may desire. Still Poker players in Washington do have a few different poisons from which they may pick making it a fine state for land based poker.

Note: The author is not a lawyer or trained / authorized to provide legal advice to Washington residents. Everything contained within is meant only for reference to what other residents and U.S. citizens have experienced.

If you have more questions about the legality of playing poker online in Washington, we always encourage readers to consult a lawyer or look at other reference sites that focus on the laws that surround legal online poker in the United States.

There are a lot of other sites, many just like ours, that have information about playing at real money poker sites, and some of them may even have the exact text of the laws on their website. We choose not to do things that way because everything is not black and white. There is a lot of room when it comes to the interpretation + application of the online gaming statutes in the real world, and it's the reason we exist.