Poker fans gain ally in Washington state


Online poker players in Washington have another ally in their battle against the online gambling ban in the state. In a radio interview last week, gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi expressed his opposition to the ban.

Rossi, a republican, spent most of the interview on the Dori Monson Show on 710 KIRO radio station in Seattle talking about the traffic and congestion issues in the state and what is needed to balance the state's budget.

However, when it came time for questions submitted from listeners, the first issue brought up was the online poker ban.

"If you play online poker in this state, you can go to prison for 10 years with a felony rap sheet. What would you do about that?" asked Monson after remarking that this is an issue he's quite interested in as well.

"I never would have signed that bill," Rossi said on the show.

He pointed out that the law puts playing online poker on the same level as a child pornography conviction, and a felony can mess up a person's life for a very long time.

"You have some college kid that's playing poker on his computer and you're going to give him a felony for it," Rossi said. "It doesn't make sense. It doesn't fit the crime."

While showing his opposition to the law, Rossi did not commit to actively trying to overturn it himself. Monson asked if he would push for legislation to overturn the poker ban, and Rossi's response was, "I would sign legislation that would overturn it, certainly."

That may be the best that poker fans in Washington can hope for after Lee Rousso dropped out of the governor race earlier this year.

Rousso, who has a lawsuit pending in the court system against the online poker ban, took his fight to the governor race at the beginning of the year in hopes of getting the law changed that way if necessary. However, a change in the primary format thwarted his plan to get on the November ballot.

While he had other plans as well if he had been able to make it to the governor seat, one of his primary reasons for running was to be able work on getting the poker ban repealed. He continues his fight against the ban through his lawsuit and as part of the Poker Players Alliance.

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