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Lee Rousso to Challenge WA State Gambling Ban

Aug 1, 2007
Author: Catrina Rudd
Lee Rousso, the American lawyer and poker player who is challenging Washington state laws against online gambling will have his day in court on September 21.

Rousso asserts that the Washington state ban on Internet gambling infringes on the US Constitution's protections of interstate trade. The interstate trade law being referred to here is similar to EU Article 49, in that it is to maintain open boarder between the states.

Under Washington state law, playing online poker in the state is a felony, and Rousso has lodged a case with the King County Superior Court in an effort to overturn it.

Rousso, who is also the active and standing Poker Players' Alliance Representative for Washington, has secured a court hearing for September 21, and expects to file his brief by August 24, leaving nearly a full month before the hearing.

The Washington law went into effect last June, extending an earlier ban on gambling by telephone or telegraph and increasing the classification of the offence from a gross misdemeanor to a felony. It shocked legal and industry experts as it places online gambling in the same category as criminal sexual child abuse with severe disciplinary measures, although there have thus far been no prosecutions of players. It is Lee Rousso's hope that it will remain as such.

Mainstream and industry reporters and observers have been quick to point out that just about every other form of gambling available has a place in the state, suggesting an unreasonable and inequitable posture on Internet gambling on the whole and online poker in specifically.
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