Internet gaming guide shut down in Washington state

A Washington state online gaming guide was shut down by its operator recently despite the fact no illegal wagers were being accepted by the site. According to officials, the website violated Senate Bill 6613, the new law passed in the state last month which made online gambling a felony and prohibits using the Internet to transmit gambling related information.

Tom Boutte, the Bellingham, Wash., man who ran the site, is a former Wal-Mart employee who launched as a casino review. The guide advised readers on the best Internet casinos via articles, links and advertisements.

Boutte didn't think his site was in violation of Senate Bill 6613 since no actual wagering was taking place. However, after reading an article in the Bellingham Herald where officials said was in fact illegal, Boutte shut his site down and is now attempting to find an out of state buyer to take it off his hands.

Users of the site will now find a "This Account Has Been Suspended" message written across the top of the screen after logging in, along with a prompt that urges players to "Please contact the billing/support department as soon as possible."

Rick Day, the director of the state's gambling commission, said the content featured on Boutte's site assisted people in committing a felony because it provided guidance on where and how to gamble online through the use of promotional links and articles, which itself warrants a criminal charge according to the new law.

Similarly, publications containing regular "how-to" poker columns, such as The Seattle Times which features "Card Shark" by poker pro Daniel Negreanu, could fall victim to the new regulations if links or online gambling information is included in the article.

To avoid any unpleasant encounters with the law, Day suggests editors remove any advice or links relating to online gambling from the columns.

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