ashington had an online gambling law held up as constitutional by the Supreme Court last year, and it caused some of the top online poker sites to pull out of the market. PokerStars was the first to leave, and now several other sites have informed their customers that they too will be no longer accepting business from residents of the state.
That leaves hundreds of online poker players in Washington out of a job as soon as the few remaining online poker sites pull out, which is expected in the coming months. At that time, the poker pros will have to decide on a relocation plan if they plan on staying in their chosen field.
New Jersey will be an attractive option for these gamblers should Governor Chris Christie sign the online casino regulation legislation into law. Atlantic City casinos would be allowed to offer online poker to New Jersey residents under the new law, so anyone coming from Washington would only have to establish residency and they can return to their craft.
For those who have made enough money online to be patient, several other states may become options for relocation. The easiest move would be if California lawmakers regulated online poker. There are bills on the table being discussed by California lawmakers that would do just that. One of these bills could be passed as soon as later in this legislative session.
On a federal level, the Washington players do not stand to receive much relief. A majority of lawmakers in Congress are still rejecting the end of online gambling prohibition. Liberals have been pushing the repeal of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, but with Conservatives holding control of the House, that repeal seems unlikely in the next two years.
Professional online poker players from Washington have many options if they chose to start making their living in land-based casinos. Dozens of states have now legalized casinos, and most have no-limit poker rooms inside the newly built gaming establishments.