Internet Gambling Illegal in Washington - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Internet Gambling Illegal in Washington

KENNEWICK, Wash. - If you have an itch for online poker, the State of Washington has a new incentive for you to save your money.

A new law states, as of Wednesday, it is illegal to gamble on the Internet. But what many people may not know is online gambling has always been illegal. The difference Wednesday is now if you come home and want to put down a couple of bucks on an online Texas Hold 'Em game, you and the person hosting the game could face time in prison.

With endless sites to place your bet and the hope of winning big bucks some find it hard to say no to online gambling. But Washington State Legislators remind people who try their luck online, you don't have very good odds.

"When your using the Internet you don't know if the game is rigged. You don't know if you're going to get paid off. You don't know who you're dealing with on the other end," said Rep. Larry Haler (R), 8th District.   

Under the Federal Wire Wager Act it's already a felony to play online for money, and Washington Legislators said they wanted to fall in line with the national standard.

Some people think it's good idea.

"It stops all the little kids, eight year olds from getting their parent's credit cards and setting up accounts," said Columbia Basin College Student Blaine Cornrath.   

Some said it helps people avoid the dangers of an addictive habit.

"They play a little bit and then a little more and more and more and more. They make a habit to play all the time," said recovering gambler Eugenei Vacquez.   

But to others the law doesn't make sense.

"I think it's stupid. There's no reason you shouldn't be able to gamble online if you can gamble at a casino that's right here in the State of Washington," said Kennewick resident Phaedra Sharp.    

And some casino goers said they have family who like to gamble but feel uncomfortable in a card house.

"She is a very nervous person when she gets around crowds. I don't think it'll be fair to her or anybody else like that," said gambler Tim Prickett.    

If you want to play police aren't going to storm down your door, but just know if you get caught playing online police consider it the same as assaulting an officer, both are now Class C Felonies.

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