Washington is a very interesting state when it comes to talking about online poker. While they have laws on the books that can make playing poker up to a class C felony, the state has NEVER enforced this law. Thus no one has ever been prosecuted, arrested, or indicted for playing online poker. We should also note that it is not just WA state, but no state, territory, or commonwealth of the United States has ever arrested, indicted, or prosecuted a citizen for online gambling.
It is commonly thought among those in the legal community that the reason this hasn't been done, besides there being no political will to go after private citizens for gambling in their living rooms, is that the law would not stand up to scrutiny in a court of law and would be subsequently struck down. Considering this though, when we suggest sites to play on from inside of the borders of the state of Washington, we do so with some caution, but also optimism that everything will be fine, because there has never been an issue in the past.
Ultimately, if you were to ask, "Can I play online poker in Washington state?" our answer would be "yes." A couple of sites have decided to not offer their services to those within Washington, but plenty of sites still have games that players can take advantage of. These games have great value, and since some of them are at smaller sites, the player base is a bit worse than normal. Also, the sites that do service Washington all have a sportsbook and/or casino attached to them, which can be rather fortuitous for poker players looking for extra action games. Below are our suggested sites to play online poker on from The Evergreen State!
Ignition Poker, which is part of the Bodog Poker Network is a great option for players from Washington. New players can take advantage of a generous deposit bonus of up to $2,000 ($1,000 max for poker, $1,000 max for casino). These deposit bonuses clear at the fastest rate of any US friendly poker site. Small depositors will note that their bonus clears at an astounding 100% rakeback equivalent. For the high rollers taking advantage of the full $1,000 bonus, it will clear at a 33.5% effective rate. Ignition also has some very easy tournaments and cash games, and boy do they have a lot of them. According to Pokerscout.com the 7-day rolling average for cash game players 1500 simultaneous players. If you add in the tournament and sit and go players, the numbers approach 10,000 players! Ignition also has a newly updated casino with a $1,000 initial bonus and unlimited $1,000 bitcoin reload bonuses available to WA-based players.
If you would like to start playing Ignition Poker from the comfort of your own home then you can follow this link to get the best deposit bonus offer available!
Chico Poker Network, headlined by BetOnline, has seen a fairly meteoric rise in its traffic over the past couple of months. This has made the network an intriguing possibility for many players as they offer good games, a Sit n’ Go leaderboard and many other promotions. While they don’t offer rakeback, players can take advantage of deposit and reload bonuses fairly regularly. This room is a good option for sit-n-go players and full ring cash game players as both are a fairly popular variant on the site. According to PokerScout.com the 7-day average is 850 players.
Chico Network also has a very good and active sportsbook, as well as an online casino option for players. Chico Network also offers great promotions for both the sportsbook and casino that allow players to easily supplement their win rates and take advantage of the quick withdrawals and payment processing available!
Grand Poker Network may be a new poker room, but their parent company has been around for a very long time. 5Dimes Group is one of the most trusted names in sports betting, and as such, their new poker room should be trusted without the fear that may come with newer, unproven sites. While the room is still growing, 50%+ rakeback and soft games are the hallmark of the room and it is a great opportunity for players to take advantage of.
On top of having access to everything that Winning Poker Network offers through its partnership with Grand Poker Network Washington residents will also have access to the world-renowned sports book on 5Dimes. 5Dimes makes it exceptionally easy to move money from your poker account to sportsbook or casino depending on what you want most and where you feel your greatest edge is. You will still have access to the bitcoin deposits and withdrawals offered through Grand Poker network, so this means some of the quickest and easiest funding of accounts can be yours exceptionally easily, as outlined in our awesome guide on how to setup these deposits and withdrawals. Grand Poker Network offers one of the premiere sportsbooks and casinos available to US-based players.
To become a member at 5Dimes and get access to their casino, sportbook and poker clients, follow the link provided here.
Players can expect no real difference in the payout times from Washington than the rest of the states chronicled in our report. Winning Poker Network, Grand Poker Network and Chico Poker Network all have bitcoin withdrawal options that make payouts exceptionally fast. Other methods are also rather fast, but do take longer than the bitcoin option, hence are rather strong recommendation that you utilize crypto-currency. However they may be easier for some players as there is less middle-man work to deal with those options. No matter your choice these sites provide easy and safe options for payouts.
This is one of the more frustrating sections to write out of any of the state’s because Washington has, at least legislatively, went after poker players. Before we go any further though, it is very important to note that it has only been legislatively and no player has actually been charged with playing online poker. So with that preamble being said Washington has made it a felony to player online poker within the state borders. While it is of course a rather low class felony, it is still a felony and is one of the most aggressive actions any state has taken against players themselves. This kind of penalty is reserved for operators of the sites and not the player who plays on them. No player has ever been charged, much less prosecuted for playing online poker in Washington or anywhere else in the USA. Players can still get cash outs fairly easily in the state and with the rise of bitcoin on many US–facing sites there are still great opportunities for individuals from Washington to player poker.
Interestingly, but perhaps not all together surprisingly, players from Washington don’t have to worry about home games getting invaded as long as what is happening can be proven as social gambling. This generally means that the house can’t be taking a cut of the action, but this is a rather generous law in regards to home games that many states don’t actually have. Overall Washington has a much friendlier view of live gambling than most states and sits in stark contrast to where they sit with regards to online poker.
Operators in Washington are subject to many of the same laws that you would find in other states. Operators are not allowed to operator an illegal gambling business within the state or provide services to those in the state. The definition for illegal gambling is fairly general in nature and covers most of the normal types of gambling and activities that players are used to. Operators are given a fair number of loopholes though to provide gambling to those in the state of Washington though, at least when it comes to live games. We will discuss in more detail what kind of live games are legal in the state of Washington.
Online poker has been attacked in the state from the player side of things and nothing special has really been done against the operators of the state, interestingly. Generally you can look at how states treat operators to see which states will have the most options for players, but Washington bucks that trend. While it is illegal to offer online poker to those in the state, which is true in almost every state so there is nothing special about that. Further, Washington hasn’t taken aggressive legal action against those offshore sites in the past, so there isn’t the precedent for online sites to be as scared of the state as in some other cases.
This is a very interesting section to write, because this is an example of sites not offering services to the state, despite nothing too special about the laws of the state governing them. It appears that most sites that don’t offer services to the states don’t offer them on the basis of what could happen to the players of that state and not wanting to put players in danger of repercussions from partaking in the games. While it is likely more complex than this, the decision timeframe for sites not offering services anymore lines up perfectly with the passing of this law. There are still many great sites available to players in the state of Washington though and players will not want for a good game if they so desire to play.
Washington should be very high on the list of states that would regulate online poker considering their movements in other controversial areas, but this kind of movement has not really been seen extending to poker, sadly. The state is one of only two states to have legalized pot use, even for non-medical purposes, and so the base for a more liberal acceptance of activities if definitely there. This same acceptance hasn’t been seen with online poker though and it doesn’t appear that there will be much movement on this in the next year. The land based gaming operations in Washington are very strong and generally do not want to see online poker legalized, which is far from a unique perspective or desire. The fact that there is such a liberal base to draw from though might make this state more likely to regulate online poker as opposed to many other states though.
If you want land based gambling in Washington you are in luck. There is basically every major form of gambling and even more generous laws with charitable organizations than most states have. Washington is home to tribal casinos, commercial casinos, card rooms, race tracks, state lotteries, charitable gambling and a bevy of laws to make those distinctions even more blurred than normal. Charitable organizations will at times need licenses and other times, they won’t. When they get these licenses they can allow all sorts of things, sometimes just poker or bingo and other times all out casino setups that are indistinguishable from a brick and mortar casino's offerings.
If there is legalized poker in the state of Washington it is not clear who would lead the charge in creating a great online site. Many of the normal brick and mortar casinos are not present in the state of Washington and there likely would need to be a fair amount of changes for it to be a viable market. What these changes would be likely would depend on the legislation passed, so it’s pretty difficult to say what would happen in these markets without more information.
If you are lucky enough to have another address in a nearby state, be it your business address, summer home, second apartment, family home, etc, you may have other online poker options available to you. Here are a list of the states that border Washington and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and California. If you're the type that keeps another address far away from your native Washington, then our Online Poker USA Player's Guide will be helpful to you since it contains information on all 50 states.
Many people are ignorant of the legal status of online poker as well as their options to participate in the games. Please consider sharing this information with your friends and family. Sharing this info helps keep the games going and our favorite pastime from meeting an untimely demise!