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Poker players raise stakes in Internet gaming fight

Members of the Poker Players Alliance gather on the steps of the Capitol Thursday morning after the Supreme Court hears arguments on a state law that bans Internet gambling.

OLYMPIA — Members of the Poker Players Alliance gathered on the Capitol steps today after arguing the state Supreme Court should strike down the state’s law against online poker.

The state allows people to go to casinos to play poker, but won’t let them play it online in their home, they said. It’s a way of protecting local gambling operations to the detriment of out-of-state and out-of-country gambling operations. That’s a violation of the interstate commerce laws, they contend.

Phil Gordon of Newport, a professional poker player, said it’s ridiculous that he has to leave his home and drive down the road about 200 yards to Idaho to play poker online on his cellphone.

It’s a contemptible law, said former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the alliance. And he was speaking assomething of an expert, having voted for some contemptible laws while in Congress.

Not so, says the state. Poker is illegal unless it’s played in a state-regulated facility and there’s no way to regulate Internet gambling sites on such places as the Isle of Man, an island off Great Britain where many are located.

It’s harder to restrict minors and compulsive gamblers from Internet gambling, assistant attorney general  Gerry Ackerman said. “Internet gambling is the crack cocaine of gambling.”

More on the argument and rally this eveing on line and in Friday’s print edition.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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