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Fight to Legalize Online Poker Suffers Setback in Washington

March 24, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Writing in the Post-Intelligencer, Seattle’s oldest (and now-online-only) newspaper, reporter Scott Sunde offers details on a recent bid by a Washington lawyer to nullify enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) in Washington state.

The lawyer in question, Lee Rousso, had attempted to make the argument that the 2006 law "violates the clause of the U.S. Constitution that gives the federal government the right to regulate interstate commerce."

His argument was rejected by the state appeals court, according to the article.  

The setback is unfortunate but not surprising, given a similar defeat suffered by Rousso almost a year ago at the hands of a Superior Court judge in King County. King County houses a large part of the Seattle region — the U.S.'s fifteenth largest metropolitan area.  

This week's decision by three judges of division I of the appeals court was made because the judges felt that Rousso had not sufficiently shown that policing Internet poker “imposes excessive burdens”.

An excerpt from the ruling: "Ultimately, given the importance of the state's interest in protecting its citizens from the ills associated with gambling, and the relatively small cost imposed on out-of-state businesses by complying … Rousso has failed to meet his burden … "

Rousso has since said he may take the case to the state Supreme Court.

About 70 poker players gathered near the courthouse in support of Rousso, the article stated.

Comments on the website were mostly in favor of Rousso’s effort. Some samples:  

“I am going to keep playin, and they can come after me if they want. Just keep taking away our freedoms and one day we will get together and take our state back.” – posted by “new direction

“YES! WA residents want online poker. Looks like more trips to Nevada for this online poker player.” – posted by “Centrist

“I play poker myself. This ban is another one of those rubbish puritanical embargoes that serves no purpose other than to reassure some very insecure people.” – posted by “Tenochtitlan

“Another nail in the coffin of Freedom.” – posted by “clintfisher

To read the original story at the Seattle P.I., please click here.