The state of Washington falls into one of the strictest states when it comes to playing poker online. The state has passed some very strict laws that come with some harsh punishments for any kind of gambling online. Washington is definitely not a friendly state for poker players.
Can Players From Washington Play Poker Online?
If you reside in the state of Washington and you are looking for a site to play for real money online then you will probably not have any luck. The laws in this state are so strict that most online poker rooms steer clear of this state. However, if you are looking for a place to play “play” money games then you will have no problems.
There are many sites that have games available for residents of Washington; you just won’t be able to play for real money. These sites are great to sharpen your skills, though.
Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Washington?
Washington was one of the first states to pass laws pertaining to gambling online. They passed very strict laws early in the online gambling boom. While online poker was booming throughout the United States, poker players in the state of Washington were faced with harsh punishments if they were caught playing poker online. You can see some of the laws pertaining to gambling online in Washington below:
Let’s start with Washington’s definition of gambling
Gambling 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. (Section 9.46.0237)
The law that is most troublesome for online poker players in the state of Washington reads as follows
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 (Section 9.46.250)
A felony charge for playing poker online is one of the toughest penalties we have seen.
Charitable gambling and nonprofit gambling organizations are permitted within the state of Washington.
Social gambling is permitted in the state of Washington as long as no one is collecting a fee in order for players to play the game. 
As you can see from the above laws, Washington State is very serious about what they consider to be illegal gambling activities. These are just a few of the laws that they have pertaining to gambling. All of the laws are laid out clearly, and none of them bode well for playing poker online.
Washington Gambling History
Residents of Washington who like to gamble have been battling with the state since 1889 when the state constitution prohibited all gambling activity. Of course, this didn’t stop the gambling. Law enforcement had a tough time enforcing the laws, and in some instances they were gambling right alongside the gamblers. However, the state continued their stance that all gambling was illegal until 1933.
In 1933, horse racing was very popular in the United States. The Washington State legislature decided to allow pari-mutuel betting on horse races. We suspect that the betting was already taking place long before the state decided to legalize it, but either way this was a small victory for gamblers in the state of Washington.
The 1950s through the 1970s was a time when illegal gambling was rampant in the state of Washington. Public officers and public officials were taking payoffs to look the other way. In 1971, 51 public officials and officers were indicted in King County for these alleged payoffs. The King County prosecutor was among the officials prosecuted.
In 1972, the voters of Washington approved some gambling activity with 60% of the voters voting for it. This new legislation brought forth bingo halls, pull tabs, and casino nights. These were non-profit organizations, but it was still a big victory for the gamblers in the state as all gambling was illegal prior to this besides betting at the tracks. In 1974, gambling was extended further when card rooms were approved.
The law makers of the state of Washington faced even more charges in 1980 when a grand jury handed down indictments to the House Speaker, State Majority Leader, and Olympia lobbyist for conspiring to take payoffs in return for promoting gambling legislation.
The state lottery was authorized in 1982. This is the same year that the state authorized tribal casinos. However it took 10 years before the first compact was signed with an Indian Tribe in 1992.
Today, you will find a variety of options for gambling within the state of Washington. It is all strictly controlled, but it brings a lot of money into the state. 
Legalized Gambling Options in Washington
Online poker is about the only shortage of legalized gambling in the state of Washington. The state has a full menu of options for gambling legally. The state lottery, tribal casinos, commercial casinos, card rooms, race tracks, and bingo halls are among the gambling options you will find in Washington.
Aside from the huge list of options for gambling above, you will also find plenty of charity gambling events in Washington. Casino nights and poker tournaments are common charity events.
Will Washington Legalize Online Poker in the Future?
It is very unlikely that Washington will legalize online poker anytime in the near future. The state has taken a strong stance against it. Many eyes are looking to New Jersey right now to see how their legalization of online gambling pan out. The state only allows casinos to operate online businesses if the casino has a brick and mortar casino within the state.
If this makes a lot of money for New Jersey then we expect other states that have land based casinos to follow suit with these regulations. So, we think that it is a possibility that Washington may eventually legalize online poker. This is just our opinion, though. We will have to wait and see like everyone else.