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Gambling Laws in Washington

In Washington state, gambling is illegal unless the gambling activity is permitted by the state law. This is according to the Washington State Gambling Commission, who define gambling as involving three different aspects: consideration, chance, and a prize. It is worth noting that consideration in this context means a wager or almost anything of value.

Types of Legal and Illegal Gambling

Bookmaking; this is the act of gambling that takes place about the outcome of a future event. This is legal if you are a licensed and registered bookmaker.

Card and Dice Gaming; this type of gambling is illegal for individuals. Only licensed card rooms can hold these types of gambling games.

Antique Slot Machines; it is illegal to run an antique slot machine if it is operating for gambling. However, you can legally own one if it is over 25 years old and does not involve any costs associated with playing it.

Sports Wagering; this is illegal in the state. The only exception is for 100-square sports pool boards, under certain restrictions. This includes small wagers between friends.

Animal Fighting; this is illegal. The state law prohibits any kind of animal fighting and any gambling associated with it.

Gambling Devices; like slot machines, pachinko machines, Pachislo machines are illegal in the state.

Electronic Gambling

With the advent of electronic gambling, new regulations have been issued by the state gambling commission over the past few years to address this new form of gambling. It is worth noting that gambling via electronic games, video poker, and video pull-tabs are also illegal forms of gambling. Aside from this, Washington state is one of the few states that actively promotes and campaigns against online gambling.
However, if you are living in the state, you can gamble online due to the lack of laws and the legal complications around regulating the internet.

Cryptocurrency Gambling

Gambling with Cryptocurrency is something of a legal grey area. With the advent of Cryptocurrency, came the inevitable advent of gambling with this type of currency. The legal grey area exists due to the fact that Cryptocurrency is not an official, US regulated currency like the dollar. As most of the laws prohibit gambling with dollars, there is no mention on the state gambling commission’s site about the legality around gambling with Cryptocurrency.

Restrictions on Gambling

For the gambling that is legal, strict regulations are in place to monitor the gambling that takes place; the biggest of which is the age restrictions. To legally gamble in the state, you need to be 18 or over. Underage gambling is a serious offense in the state that can accrue fines of up to $125 as well as potential community service.

In terms of getting the appropriate license, there are currently 28 different licenses; 8 for individuals, 13 for commercial businesses and 7 for non-profit and charitable organizations.

To conclude, gambling in the state is something you will need to do more research on if you plan to start a gambling business. The relevant authority to contact is the Washington State Gambling Commission. A list of all laws associated with gambling in the state can be found here. No matter if you are an individual or a business, applying for the right licenses is a must when going into the gambling business.

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