by , Jun 16, 2006 | 2:55 pm

So Washington state passed a law that makes it a felony to play online poker. But there weren’t too many direct concerns from online poker players … because the law it self — with $0 provided for enforcement — seemed to have no teeth.

Well guess what, it’s getting uglier than you can imagine … with state gambling officials telling websites that talk about poker that they are breaking the law. Excuse me? Check out this article in the Seattle Times. (Normally I’d say, thanks, Easycure, for the link. But in this case I feel like it’s more appropriate to say, “I’m sorry — deeply sorry.”)

“It’s what the feds would call ‘aiding and abetting,’ ” says the director of the state’s gambling commission, Rick Day. “Telling people how to gamble online, where to do it, giving a link to it — that’s all obviously enabling something that is illegal.” 

Gambling officials told me The Seattle Times may be afoul of the law because we print a poker how-to column, “Card Shark,” by gambler Daniel Negreanu. He sometimes tells readers to hone their skills at online casinos. And at the end of each column is a Web address,, where readers can comment.

“My suggestion to you is to remove from your paper any advice about online gambling and any links to illegal sites,” Day said.

So wow … who knew poker, and poker bloggers, and mainstream newspapers could get to this point so quick?

All the more reason to make pre-emptive moves in Texas. I’m being serious when I say poker needs to find itself a law firm. (One that presumably will do it for the goodness of the cause and the resultant pubicity said firm will get.) TBR recently recommended bringing the ACLU in on a similar (but unrelated) legal issue. But I’m not so sure poker players want an organization that doesn’t understand/love the game to be leading this very important (at least to a few tens of million Americans) battle.


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