Washington Gambling Laws & Online Poker in Washington

Washington still doesn’t have any online poker legislation in place.  However, changes have been discussed and there could be something definitive within a couple of years.

Type/Code Summary
State Code Section(s) 9.46-47; 67.16-17; 67.70
Definition of Gambling 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.
Definition of Contest of Chance Any contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that skill of the contestants may also be a factor.
Definition of Player A natural person who engages, on equal terms with the other participants, and solely as a contestant or bettor, in any form of gambling in which no person may receive or become entitled to receive any profit therefrom other than personal gambling winnings, and without otherwise rendering any material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation of a particular gambling activity. A natural person who gambles at a social game of chance on equal terms with the other participants shall not be considered as rendering material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation of the social game merely by performing, without fee or remuneration, acts directed toward the arrangement or facilitation of the game, such as inviting persons to play, permitting the use of premises for the game, or supplying cards or other equipment to be used in the games.
Definition of Legal Social Card Game A card game that constitutes gambling and is authorized by the commission under RCW 9.46.070. Authorized card games may include a house-banked or a player-funded banked card game. No one may participate in the card game or have an interest in the proceeds of the card game who is not a player or a person licensed by the commission to participate in social card games.
Online Poker/Gambling Online poker is specifically prohibited by Washington state law and considered a felony. The Poker Players Alliance sued the state in the late 2000s alleging the law was unconstitutional, but the PPA lost. Lawmakers continue to push for legalized online poker nearly every year, but there is never sufficient support to pass the bills.
Live Poker Cardrooms have been legal in Washington for several decades, where poker is prevalent. There is also cash game and tournament poker offered in some of the Native American casinos like Tulalip Resort Casino.
Casinos All of Washington’s 29 tribes have gaming compacts with the state to offer casinos on their respective lands. The casinos offer slot machines and video gaming machines but only a few offer table games like poker.
Sports Betting Washington lawmakers have not considered any bills to legalize sports betting.
DFS A Senate bill was introduced in 2018 to legalize paid-entry fantasy sports, but it did not pass.
Other Forms of Gambling Lottery, bingo and charitable gambling, horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering, pull-tab games and punchboards.