You are here

Play Online Poker in Washington state + how to get away w/ it

Online Poker in Washington

Can I play online poker in Washington The answer is yes!

Is it legal to play online poker in Washington? The answer to this is also yes!

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.

Best Online Poker Sites

Here are our top recommended poker sites for Washingtonians. We've taken a look at cashout speeds, player traffic, promotions, and other relevant factors to bring you only the best. Click below to sign up directly or keep reading the rest of our article for a detailed description of each site.

  1. Ignition Casino - Best overall room because of large traffic and good Mac + mobile software.
  2. - Our second place pick has a superb mobile client and multi-crypto support.
  3. Bovada - The same poker action as Ignition but with a sportsbook and racebook too.
  4. SWC Poker - The only destination for mixed games, like HORSE and 8-game, OFC, Badugi, et cetera.
  5. Nitrobetting - Bitcoin-denominated games with complete anonymity and a lucrative rewards program.

It is commonly thought among those in the legal community that the reason no WA player has ever been prosecuted, 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. Another theory is that this two decade-old law has never been enforced and may not be able to be enforced due to legal desuetude, a condition in which abandoned and obsolete laws cease to carry any weight in the legal system. The Supreme Court of the United States once wrote a legal opinion dismissing enforcement of an ancient birth control law stating:

Deeply embedded traditional ways of carrying out state policy ..." – or not carrying it out – "are often tougher and truer law than the dead words of the written text.

The fact that the Washington anti-online gaming statute is basically irrelevant was highlighted by the testimony of high school math teacher David Shick in a hearing before the Washington Senate's Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee in January 2017. Shick, who resides in Bellingham, stated that he used to make a substantial secondary income from his online poker play. As part of his testimony, David Shick commented:

I guess I have to confess: In 2009, I started playing again. I realized that the state law was just an absolute joke. Nobody was being arrested, and so here I am today admitting that, you know, I'm a Class C felon. And so if that means I'm going to be arrested, I guess I could be the first one.

Needless to say, Shick was not arrested; he did not become “the first one.” In fact, NOBODY, up till the present day, became the first one, and the prospects of you yourself being singled out for this dubious distinction are virtually nil.

Unbeknownst to many Washingtonians, internet poker is completely legal on a Federal level. The US Department of Justice reversed its stance on The Wire Act of 1961 in late 2011, and poker is no longer considered covered by this law. That was a strange, but welcome decision, considering that The Wire Act was the basis for the cases brought forth on the infamous Black Friday of 2011 in which PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker were removed from American markets by force.

Furthermore, the World Trade Organization, an entity created and controlled by the United States and tasked to deal with matters of international trade, has ruled that offshore poker sites can freely offer poker games to American citizens. Considering all of this, when we suggest sites to play on from inside of the borders of the State of Washington, we do so with mild caution but also optimism that everything will be fine because there has never been an issue in the past. The laws appear to be in place to keep online gambling operators from creating their company nexus within the United States, probably to shield the powerful US casino corporations and lobbying groups from competition, not to chastise and harm law-abiding citizens.

Ultimately, if you were to ask, "Can I play online poker in Washington state?" our answer would be "yes." Out of extreme cautiousness, 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 (equating to warm, buttery-soft games). Also, some of the sites that do service Washington 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!

What Online Poker Sites Can I Play in Washington?

While you do have only a small list of poker rooms to register for due to the harsh legal climate in The Evergreen State, it wouldn't do to just sign up at the first one you stumble across. We've done the work of evaluating all of the sites that serve WA, and we've presented them below so that you won't have to take any risks with sites you don't trust. All of the organizations on our list are honest, dependable, and focused on creating an excellent playing experience. They're also renowned for their short payout waiting times, so if you happen to win a lot of money, you'll have it in your hands before you know it.



150% up to $1,500
4.5 / 5



Of the online poker sites serving Washingtonians, Ignition has the greatest traffic. There are bustling games of No Limit Hold'em, spread across stakes of $0.02/$0.05 through $10/$20, and you will also see Pot Limit Omaha, PLO/8, and LHE action if a bit more sparsely. Fast-fold Zone Poker and lottery-inspired Jackpot SNGs are among the more interesting variants. Rest assured you'll encounter plenty of normal sit-n-gos too as well as valuable MTTs, such as the $100,000 guaranteed, which runs every Sunday.

You can access the full suite of games at Ignition through a Windows PC, Mac, or mobile device. A 100% up to $1,000 bonus can be yours (150% up to $1,500 with BTC) for use at the poker tables while a further $1,000 is available in the casino.



100% up to $1,000
4.4 / 5


READ REVIEW offers the compelling trio of NLHE, PLO, and PLO Hi-Lo at blinds of up to $10/$20.In addition, you can enjoy fast-fold Boost Poker, random-prize pool Windfall SNGs, and 6+ Hold'em. There are plenty of ways to pick up some extra cash here, including weekly leaderboards for cash and Sit-and-go, a comp points program, and a Bad Beat Jackpot that has occasionally topped seven figures. The tournament section is headlined by a weekly $60K GTD event. boasts smooth Windows and Mac download programs as well as a superb app for iOS and Android. Your first deposit will entitle you to a 100% up to $1,000 poker bonus and four tickets to $2,500 freerolls.



100% up to $500
4.2 / 5



Bovada is a sister site of Ignition, so the poker games are almost all identical, but Bovada hosts a superior set of related gambling platforms. For instance, there's a sportsbook and a racebook, so you can bet on your favorite athletes and ponies. NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA – it's all here, including Premier League soccer, tennis, golf, and other contests from around the world. The racing menu contains close to 200 tracks with a focus on North American venues.

Bovada's gambling interfaces are accessible through PC and Mac download executables as well as a responsive web app that's perfect for smartphones and tablets. The poker bonus is 100% up to $500, and you can get another $250 for sports and $3,000 in the casino.



4.1 / 5



Though traffic at SwCPoker is a bit sparse, this is your only real choice if you seek formats other than the ubiquitous Hold'em and Omaha tables. HORSE, Chinese Poker, Stud, and Triple Draw are just a few of the offbeat game types that you'll encounter at SwC. Low rake, Krill rakeback rewards, a bad beat jackpot, freerolls, and leaderboards all promise to pad your bottom line.

SwCPoker has recently expanded its software to be compatible with Windows, Mac, smartphones, and tablets. This is the most well-known Bitcoin-only poker room



100% up to 25 mBTC
4.2 / 5



Nitrobetting Poker loads directly in your web browser with no clumsy app or installation downloads to worry about. There's NL Hold'em, Limit Hold'em, PLO, and Crazy Pineapple for you to sample. The Nitro Rewards program can be quite remunerative if you can put in enough volume although this will be a challenge given the low player population. All cashier functions are done in Bitcoin here, which has the advantage of facilitating rapid withdrawal processing.

The browser-based poker client at Nitrogen is compatible with almost every modern computing platform. There's a 100% deposit bonus up to 25 mBTC and you can play freerolls to check the site out before depositing.


How to Choose the Best Poker Site For Your Style of Play

When trying to decide where to play, many elements merit your close attention: size, the presence of the games you like, promotional deals, etc. All the rooms aren't identical in these respects, and they each do things a bit differently from their competitors, so you'll have to think carefully before committing to any single site. We can't make this decision for you, but we can help you out with a few general bits of advice.

◈ If you want to play where there's the most traffic, then it's Ignition or Bovada hands down.

◈ If bonus value is your primary consideration, then Ignition's $1,500 is the largest and fastest-clearing deal offered.

◈ If frequent cash back to your account appeals to you, then Nitrobetting's Nitro levels ought to be just what you're looking for.

◈ If playing from your mobile platform works best for you, then check out, Ignition, and Bovada.

◈ If you're tired of Texas Hold'em all day, every day, then it's worth your while to glance at the multi-game lobby at SwC.

How Do I Receive Withdrawals and Payments?

Cash Money

Players can expect no real difference in the payout times from Washington than the rest of the states chronicled in our report. Ignition Casino,, and SB Poker all have Bitcoin withdrawal options that make payouts exceptionally fast, and Nitrogen and SwC conduct all banking in this virtual currency. Other methods are also rather fast but do take longer than the Bitcoin option; hence, our rather strong recommendation that you utilize crypto-currency. This may be easier for some players as there is less middle-man work when dealing in BTC. No matter your choice, these sites provide hassle-free and safe options for payouts.

Alternatives to Registering Your Poker Account in Washington

States Neighboring Washington State

Folks who are lucky enough to have another address in a nearby state, be it a business address, summer home, second apartment, family home, etc, may have other online poker options available. Here is 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!

Facts About Washington's Poker Industry

The section below will aim to provide detailed information regarding the legality of online poker, online poker operators, live gambling options, state regulation prospects, the history involving gambling and poker, and famous poker players from the state of Washington.

Private Citizens and the Legality of Playing Poker Online in Washington

Man Pushing Ball

This is one of the more frustrating sections to write for any of the states because Washington has, at least legislatively, gone after poker players. Before we go any further though, it is very important to note that these poker-unfriendly actions have only been legislative in nature, and no player has actually been charged with playing online poker. So having issued that preamble, remember that Washington has made it a felony to play online poker within the state borders.

First things first, lets find out how the state defines gambling. This we can discover by reading RCW 9.46.0237:

"Gambling," as used in this chapter, means staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the person's control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that the person or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.

Now, this raises the question as to whether or not poker is properly considered a “game of chance“ as stipulated in the above statute or whether it's more accurate to say that it's a game of skill. This is a distinction that's decided one way or the other in varying manners by different states and other jurisdictions across the country. Unfortunately, RWC 9.46.0225 explains that any game in which the result “depends in a material degree upon an element of chance” is treated as a game of chance even if the participants' level of skill is also a significant factor. This means that undoubtedly, poker is a game of chance in the eyes of Washington State. The text on gambling goes on to list several exceptions, including fishing derbies, authorized parimutuel betting and handicapping contests, and legitimate business transactions, but poker isn't exempted from being considered gambling.

With those preliminaries covered, we get to the heart of the prohibition on real-money online gaming and the criminalization of the pastime. The relevant section of the law is RCW 9.46.240:

Gambling information, transmitting or receiving.
Whoever knowingly transmits or receives gambling information by telephone, telegraph, radio, semaphore, the internet, a telecommunications transmission system, or similar means, or knowingly installs or maintains equipment for the transmission or receipt of gambling information shall be guilty of a class C felony subject to the penalty set forth in RCW 9A.20.021. However, this section shall not apply to such information transmitted or received or equipment installed or maintained relating to activities authorized by this chapter or to any act or acts in furtherance thereof when conducted in compliance with the provisions of this chapter and in accordance with the rules adopted under this chapter.

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. No player has ever been charged, much less prosecuted, for playing online poker in Washington or anywhere else in the USA. Indeed, the Washington State Gambling Commission informs us that “Enforcement is focused on larger, higher level Internet gambling activities, such as gambling sites and service providers." However, the commission does go on to warn, “... players gambling on the Internet also run the risk of prosecution."

This law has drawn the ire of poker players who have attempted to have it overturned but without success. A case challenging the law even went all the way to the state's Supreme Court (Rousso v. State) in 2009, but that body upheld the validity of the legislation.

Interestingly, but perhaps not altogether 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 regard to home games that many states don’t actually have. Overall Washington has a much friendlier view of live gambling than most states, and this sits in stark contrast to where WA sits with regard to online poker.

Washington Online Poker Operators

Magnifying Glass

Operators in Washington are subject to many of the same laws that you would find in other states. Operators are not allowed to run 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. Corporations are given a fair number of loopholes though to provide gambling to those in the state of Washington at least when it comes to live games. We will discuss in more detail what kinds of live games are legal in the state of Washington.

Like we've discussed above, the penalties affecting individual players are mostly theoretical in nature and haven't ever been used in practice, but this isn't true on the operator side of the fence. In 2008, agents seized money and computers belonging to EZPay Financial Services, a payment processor located in Chehalis, Washington, that was affiliated with In 2017, the former head of the company was even detained in Nicaragua and transferred to Florida to answer charges of illegal gambling. Video game maker Valve has been accused by the state of being involved in gambling because people were using its Steam open API platform for risking loot from the hit game “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive," also produced by Valve, on games of chance.

Land-Based Gambling

Muckleshoot Casino Logo

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. Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn has the largest poker room in the state with 32 tables.

If there is legalized internet 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 casino conglomerates are not present in the state of Washington, and there likely would need to be a fair number 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.

State Regulation

Book and Glasses

Washington should be very high on the list of states that would regulate online poker considering its stance on other controversial areas. The state is one of just a handful to have legalized pot use, even for non-medical purposes, and so the base for a more liberal acceptance of activities is definitely there. Internet poker seems especially like a no-brainer given the vibrant offline gambling economy already extant in the state.

There have been attempts to decriminalize online poker for individuals playing in their own homes, and sporadic bills to establish a legalized regulatory framework for the game have popped up pretty regularly in the legislature. However, nothing was actually passed on either of the two fronts. HB1114, “Authorizing and regulating internet poker” was introduced in both the 2015 and 2016 sessions of the Washington State House of Representatives, but it failed to garner any traction. The fact that there is such a liberal base to draw from might make this state more likely to regulate online poker as opposed to many other states.

Yet, at the same time, we must remain cognizant of the fact that Washington has maybe the toughest anti-online gambling laws anywhere in the country at least on paper. Therefore, any legalization of poker and other internet real money games would represent a drastic departure from the previous attitude of state officials.

How Do Offshore Gambling Sites Operate in Washington?


When we consider how diligent Washington has been in pursuing entities that it believes are facilitating online gambling, it's no wonder that many of the leading poker firms have avoided serving Washingtonians. In addition to concerns about their own assets being seized and their personnel being subject to criminal prosecution, there's also the players to worry about. If any players suffer legal repercussions from partaking in the games, it would be a public relations disaster. There are still a few great sites available to players in the state of Washington though, and players will not want for a good game if they desire to play.

History of Gambling in Washington


Early ownership of the area now known as Washington involved the Spanish, British, Russian, and American governments. Perhaps these overlapping and conflicting claims contributed to keeping settlements small and sporadic for many centuries. Spain gave up its claims in 1819 as did Russia in 1825. In 1846, Britain and the United States achieved a resolution to long-simmering border issues between Canada and the U.S.A., paving the way for the Washington Territory to be created in 1853.

David Swinson "Doc" Maynard
“Doc” Maynard
Founder of Seattle

Unlike in many western areas, the chief industry in these early days wasn't mining or ranching but rather logging. The workers in this trade, though, like their counterparts elsewhere, enjoyed taking calculated risks at the gaming tables. No less worthy than David Swinson "Doc" Maynard, one of the founders of Seattle, approved of this habit – he held the then-unusual view that gambling (along with prostitution and liquor) were essential for the proper functioning of a frontier town. As Seattle grew as a city, and a port city at that, it developed a certain reputation as a place where “anything goes,” and there were plenty of gambling saloons to serve the needs of residents and visitors alike.

By the time Washington became the 42nd state in 1889, the authorities had had enough of this, and all types of wagering with real money were banned. Illicit bookmaking on horse races continued, leading the state to prohibit the racing of horses within Washington altogether. However, this must have been a much-demanded entertainment; for pari-mutuel racetrack betting was legalized in 1933. A few years later, slot machine gaming became OK for charitable groups, but the Washington Supreme Court struck down this provision in 1952.

Despite these decisions, all the evidence points to the fact that underground gambling was taking place on a massive scale. A 1971 raid arrested more than 50 people, including officers of the law and a former prosecutor, for accepting kickbacks from illegal gambling operators. In brighter news, bingo and raffles were allowed for the first time that same year, and in the following year, the state constitution was changed to remove the blanket prohibition on gambling. In 1973, the Washington State Gambling Commission was formed to oversee all authorized gaming activities.

Since then, more and more permitted types of games have been continuously added, such as fundraising “Reno Nights” in 1974 and the Washington Lottery in 1982. An abortive attempt at tribal gambling appeared in 1976 when the Puyallup Tribe opened up a casino, but it was shut down by the federal government a couple of years later. Fully legal tribal casinos began to appear in the early '90s and non-tribal, commercial card rooms in 1997.

The law prohibiting online betting was enacted in 2006. In 2011, it became evident that even Daily Fantasy Sports was against the law when a man was charged and plead guilty to offenses related to the DFS site Fantasy Thunder. Play chip social casinos were even found to be in violation of Washington law in March 2018.

To properly summarize the history of gambling and poker throughout the state of Washington, our team has created a timeline. The timeline contains every major gambling-related event to occur in the state and can be found below.

Washington Gambling Timeline

Famous Poker Players From Washington

Yellow Shooting Star

Though The Evergreen State has a number of venues for playing card games, it hasn't really become known as a renowned center of top-flight poker play. Nevertheless, there are a number of Washingtonians who have made their mark on the game.

Scott Clements
Scott Clements
Winningest Washington State Poker Player in Live Tournaments

Scott Clements, of Mount Vernon, was one of the young 20-somethings who jumped eagerly into online poker in 2004. Starting with an initial deposit of $100, he dropped down to below $20 that same day before recovering to end the evening with more than $200 in his account. He has stated that this first deposit was the only one he had to make.

Thus initiated into the thrills of real money internet gaming, Scott went on to amass millions in online winnings, including an FTOPS bracelet at the old Full Tilt Poker. Yet, he has become more well-known for his exploits on the live tournament trail.

He's the owner of three pieces of WSOP hardware: bracelets for the 2006 $3,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event, 2007 $1,500 PLO tournament, and $1,500 Dealers Choice MTT in 2019. With a WSOP Circuit ring to his credit, an 18th place showing in the 2010 Main Event, and a further 80ish cashes in the prestige offline poker tournament series, his total World Series winnings surpass $3.6 million.

This is only half the story when it comes to Scott's poker tourney success though. He has also collected many accolades in other non-WSOP events. His biggest score was the $1.5 million he picked up at the WPT C$10,300 North American Poker Championships in Niagara Falls in October 2007.

In all, Scott Clements has booked more than $8.1 million in live tournament earnings. This places him #1 among all players from the State of Washington.

Another prominent individual from Washington who dabbles in the arts of poker – though the game is not at all his main claim to fame – is billionaire Bill Gates who resides in Medina.

Bill Gates
William Henry “Bill” Gates III
Winningest Washington State Poker Player in LIFE

Gates reportedly hosted a game in his college dorm at Harvard. The buy-in was usually $100, but despite the small-stakes nature of the events, observers have said that the atmosphere was cutthroat and competitive – foreshadowing the traits Bill was later to display as the CEO of Microsoft. Yet, according to one of Gates' acquaintances from that time, whenever he lost, Bill paid up in full right away: perhaps another habit that served him well throughout his years in the corporate world.

Bill Gates occasionally frequents poker rooms at casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Somewhat unusually for a man of his means, he prefers to play in the low-stakes games. This begins to make sense, though, when we reflect upon the fact that every table in the casino is probably considered a low-stakes affair given Gates' net worth. That being the case, it's understandable that he would wish to participate in the tables with the friendliest environment and the largest number of players coming and going rather than being seated in serious games against only a few other competitors.

Rumor has it that Gates was once playing in the smallest-stakes game at the Bellagio in Vegas when he noticed that Doyle Brunson was seated in “The Big Game.” Coincidentally happening to have a copy of Doyle's legendary tome “Super/System” with him, Bill sent a message through a floorman asking if Doyle would be so kind as to sign it for him. The answer came back: Brunson would be more than happy to autograph the book for Bill but only if Bill would join him at the high-stakes table. Bill Gates supposedly declined this offer.

Other well-known Washington poker players include Brandon Cantu of Vancouver, Washington, Lee Watkinson, who was born in Long Branch, and Lee Markholt from Tacoma. Each of them has won more than $4 million in offline tourneys.

Other Types of Online Gambling

Although the primary topic of this article is poker, there are plenty of other ways to gamble on the internet including slots, table games, and sports betting. The gambling landscape in Washington can be tricky to navigate, which is why our expert gamblers have researched this topic extensively. We will provide our top recommendations for online casinos and sportsbooks below.

Online Casinos

Even the most committed pokerist must want to check out other games from time to time. Fortunately, there are tons of internet casinos available to Washington's citizens. Our top three recommended picks in this department are:

Ignition Casino Logo
1. Ignition Casino - $1,000 Bonus ($2,000 With Bitcoin)
2. Bovada Casino - 100% up to $1,000 Bonus x 3 ($3,000 in Total)
Logo of Sportsbetting Casino
3. Sportsbetting Casino - $3,000 in Casino Bonuses and 10% Loss Rebate

There are other reputable Washington online casinos that should also be on a most trusted online casinos for USA players list. Check them out on our trusted operators overview.

Online Sportsbooks

Amidst the flurry of activity in other states following the Murphy v. NCAA Supreme Court decision, which allowed for the legalization of sports betting, Washington passed ESHB 2638 in March 2020, which permits sportsbooks to do business in the state. However, this legislation only covers betting in tribal casinos; there are no provisions for online wagering from one's own home. Furthermore, the licensing process has not yet begun, so there are currently no state-licensed sportsbooks anywhere within Washington's borders.

This poses no great problem, though, because there are countless international sportsbooks online that welcome your action. We've researched this topic thoroughly to present you with the best internet bookmakers for Washington's residents:

Bovada Logo Image
1. Bovada Sports - 50% bonus up to $250 ($750 Bonus for BTC) Logo
2. - 50% up to $1,000 Bonus and Unlimited 25% Reloads
Logo of Nitrogen Sports
3. Nitrobetting Sports - 100% Deposit Bonus, Low Vig Every Day

Professional Rakeback has written much more information about the best USA online sportsbooks for you to read if you would like to learn about even more available options.

Summary of Online Poker in Washington

Although the laws on the books for online poker in Washington are among the strongest in the U.S.A, they're never targeted toward individual players. After you pick a real money Washington online poker site and make a deposit, you'll be able to play the card games you enjoy without fear or worry.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to be as informed as possible before diving into Washington online poker, then read our FAQ below for additional answers on questions pertaining to this topic.

No, there are no laws that permit state-regulated internet poker in Washington. This sets it apart from New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania: the only four states to have thus far established explicitly legal online poker sites.

Yes, there have been several legislative pushes to make online poker legal in Washington. The most notable of them in recent years was HB 1114, which was introduced in 2015. It would have granted the Washington State Gambling Commission authority to license virtual poker rooms and produce regulations governing their conduct.

The bill was referred to the committee on Commerce & Gaming, but no further developments occurred. HB1114 was reintroduced in 2016, but made similarly little progress before the legislative session ended.

No, according to the letter of the law, online poker in WA is illegal. But the track record of actual enforcement makes the pastime effectively legal.

Although the statutes on the books make WA online poker against the law, these provisions have never been used to go after players. It's only the sites and their managers/owners who face any risk of prosecution.

You, as an ordinary citizen who wants to play cards on his or her computer, are completely safe. Thus, online poker in Washington is legal to play for all intents and purposes.

Yes, PokerStars is probably legal in Washington. Unfortunately, this isn't really a relevant point because the firm elected to exit the U.S. market following the Black Friday crackdown in 2011.

Even though 'Stars still allows Americans to enjoy play chip poker games, Washingtonians are excluded. Because the state law considers even social casinos that don't use real money to be a type of gambling, practice chip card games are widely viewed as illegal by state leaders and courts.

Yes, Ignition is more or less a legal Washington online cardroom although we suppose a few prosecutors and politicians may disagree with us. Nobody has ever been charged with a crime for playing at Ignition, and the location of the corporation's headquarters in an offshore jurisdiction means that no one is going to bring them to court either. You're totally fine, from a legal perspective, if you plan on logging in and taking a seat at the Ignition Casino Poker tables.

Yes, according to international trade treaties and multi-lateral dispute resolution forums, BetOnline is doing nothing wrong by transacting with customers in the State of Washington. Even the World Trade Organization has ruled against the United States time and again when it comes to the rules and obligations regarding cross-border real money gaming.

Though BetOnline is not a party to that particular case, its business model is similar to the organizations affected by this dispute. It's therefore likely that any unbiased panel that met to decide on whether or not BoL was doing anything wrong would conclude that the company's activities ought to be permitted.

Many Washington residents have turned to Global Poker, lured in by the firm's promise of fully legal internet card games. We're not so sure that the company's legal justifications hold up under close scrutiny. The explanations as to why we believe this are too involved to go into in this FAQ. You can browse over to our Global Poker review for more info on this subject.

In any case, the company decided in 2019 to stop serving the state, so the question of whether or not Global is legal in Washington State is a moot one.

No, they are breaking the law. Any online gambling company that sells virtual chips is deemed to be running an illegal gambling concern according to the Washington State statutes.

This was clarified in a March 2018 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The case was brought forward by a Washington individual who had purchased and lost more than $1,000 worth of chips at Big Fish Casino, a spin-off of Churchill Downs. The opinion states that these “play chips” are a “thing of value” because they grant a privilege, i.e., being able to play the online games, that cannot be enjoyed without the use of these chips.

Wagering at internet destinations that employ such chips is therefore gambling and thus illegal under Washington law. You can learn more about this case in our reporting on the Big Fish Casino court opinion.

The lowest age at which you're allowed to gamble varies from place to place and sometimes depending on the type(s) of gambling you want to engage in. Washington State has established a minimum age of 18 for gambling although to visit the gaming floor of any casino that serves alcohol, you must be 21.

18 is also the age limit for online poker and gambling halls. We advise you to scrupulously adhere to this rule because lying about your age could lead to problems getting paid when the time comes.

No, it's not a good idea to attempt to manage a real money gaming business from within Washington's borders unless you go through the proper licensing procedures. By circumventing WA gambling law, you'd be setting yourself up for heavy penalties.

Just take a look at what happened when the Washington State Gambling Commission got wind of an illegal soccer betting ring in 2018. Four people were arrested, and close to $200K was seized. Unless you don't mind subjecting yourself to similar treatment, you would do well to avoid getting mixed up in the underground gambling scene.

Banks and other financial institutions sometimes get a bit skittish when it comes to facilitating transactions for “gray market” industries like online poker. Also, e-wallets like Neteller and Skrill have long ago stopped providing their services in the United States with very few exceptions.

Fortunately, there are tools that allow you to achieve a large degree of independence from the traditional banking and payments sectors. Chief among them is crypto-currency of which Bitcoin is the shining exemplar.

Bitcoin is a decentralized system that enables speedy transactions with low fees and a high level of privacy. All of the online poker rooms we recommend for WA players accept BTC for deposits and cashouts. If you're a fan of other digital coins, then you may be in luck too because there are quite a few sites that let you play online poker with Bitcoin Cash and plenty of Ethereum-based gaming destinations.

Yes, you can play poker with your buddies without any legal issues. As long as nobody is making any profit from the game, other than personal winnings, and there's no cheating taking place, you'll be fine.

Yes, you can play online poker on your phone or tablet. At one time, about a decade ago, mobile support was spotty, but nowadays, there are many internet gaming companies that cater to the mobile crowd.

Of our list of preferred Washington online poker rooms, all of them work on smart devices. Almost all the games offered are accessible from either desktop or mobile although a few of the more obscure or thinly populated variants might not be supported for mobile.

Some mobile-friendly poker rooms provide dedicated apps for you to install on your system, but others simply offer poker hosted on the web. With these web-based poker solutions, you can actually play from any computer that has modern browser software: a BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Linux Box, Mac, et cetera.

We strive to maintain this information and update it frequently with our research. However, we are not immune to making mistakes or omitting information that you, dear reader, may find of use. If you have any further questions not addressed in this guide or have noted any discrepancies or inaccuracies we urge you to contact us with your questions and concerns so that we may swiftly address them!