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Free speech advocates speak out about online casinos and laws

Most people know that the online casinos industry is always undergoing scrutiny and heavy debate, especially by law makers in the United States.
The online casinos industry was a $12 billion dollar a year venture last year and the advent of new online casinos, along with regulation changes, tax rules, and new online casinos regulations, is expected to boost overall economic productivity in the United Kingdom, according to a new study about online casinos and land based casinos, and the gambling entertainment industry in general.
But in the United States, online casinos remain illegal. Now, Washington State just made it illegal to play poker at online casinos in such places like Seattle, Spokane, and Olympia.
The state’s governor Christine Gregoire, has not only taken it upon herself to outlaw online casinos, she's also made it a felony with the same punishment given to child predators, second offense drunk drivers and drug dealers.
Director of the state's gambling commission, Rick Day, recently warned the Seattle Times.
"My suggestion to you is to remove from your paper any advice about online gambling and any links to illegal sites," Day said.
Perhaps this wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact that Washington State citizens are encouraged to gamble in that state's various Indian land based casinos and the state lotteries, not to mention you can bet horses online. So why not online casinos? What’s so different about online casinos from betting on horses online?
Freedom of speech will ultimately take center stage as a result of this new law and one of the top online casinos news site wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the ACLU get involved as they have with states such as New Mexico, which attempted unsuccessfully to block its citizens from accessing online casinos via internet service providers.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer editorial board has suggested in a recent editorial that "Washington legislators would do well to retool their new online casinos law before the courts do it for them."

The law, which took effect June 7, seems to unjustifiably threaten free speech rights.

It makes it a felony if someone "knowingly transmits or receives gambling information" online. That's casting an unacceptably broad net.

What is the state's compelling interest in outlawing Internet gambling, as the federal government already has done? Can any state law really protect its citizens foolish enough to trust their fortune -- and their credit cards -- to clandestine croupiers?

The state's more logical, if cynical, vested interest is in preserving market share for its revenue-raising games, such as Lotto, or in protecting its home-grown tribal gambling industry.

In any event, the Legislature went too far in making it a felony to link to or merely refer to an online gambling site. It's indicative that lawmakers exempted the news media.
A survey conducted by the paper revealed that nearly 78% of the readers believe Washington State should not outlaw online casinos.

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