Play a bit of Texas Hold ’em on-line in Washington state and you’ll be the legal equivalent of a sex offender. The Washington legislature this spring passed a law making Internet gambling a Class C Felony, the same status as the state’s sex offender laws, and punishable by up to ten years in prison. Gov. Christine Gregoire (D.) signed the bill March 28. It becomes effective June 7. So all you on-line players in the Evergreen State still have a few weeks to get even. Failing that, you can always go out to a local tribal casino or card room, both of which are legal in Washington. If you’ve really got a jones to make a wager, you can always run down to the corner store to buy a state lottery ticket. Understand that it’s not that legislators don’t want to you to gamble–it’s that they don’t want you to gamble with outfits they don’t control. Hey, that’s been the deal with every numbers racket since Arnold Rothstein wore short pants. For more information about this bill, plus a collection of Internet posts testifying to its unabashed hypocrisy, visit here.
Steven Titch served as a policy analyst at Reason Foundation from 2004 to 2013.