As of June 7, it is now a felony in the state of Washington to play poker on the Internet.
The bill, S.S.B. No. 6613, has stirred up great anxiety in poker forums. Players are worried that they might get arrested. Some are trying to organize political committees to get the new law changed.
The Washington State Gambling Commission has taken the official position that the bill merely “clarifies” existing law:
Their position is that Internet gambling has never been an authorized activity in Washington. So the law was passed to make it very clear that Internet gambling is illegal in Washington Prior to being amended by S.S.B. No. 6613, the law read:
Whoever knowingly transmits or receives gambling information by telephone, telegraph, radio, semaphore or similar means, or knowingly installs or maintains equipment for the transmission or receipt of gambling information shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor…
This made betting by phone with a bookie a crime. But it is questionable whether playing poker on the Internet fell under this law.
Other Washington statutes make it a crime to participate in any form of gambling that is not authorized by the state or a pure social game. But there is at least some doubt as to whether these apply to the Internet at all, let alone to a game where the operator and all of the other players are in foreign states. S.S.B. No. 6613 added the words “the internet” and “a telecommunications transmission system” to the list. So, it clearly now is a crime to send or receive any gaming information online, which would include playing poker.
Washington is probably the only state to expressly make it a crime to merely bet online. It certainly is the only state to make it a felony. [24×7]
Microsoft to Let Users Lead Longhorn Forward
At its annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference last week, Microsoft announced that it would offer Go Live licenses for Longhorn Server Beta 2 to subscribers of the Microsoft Developer Network and TechNet. The licenses would let those users run Longhorn Server Beta 2 and Internet Information Server (IIS) 7.0 in production. (Microsoft’s beta licenses usually forbid testers from running the code in production environments.)
The company also detailed hardware error-checking features and security features, and said Longhorn would have a Beta 3 early next year. It did not say how the Go Live licenses would be constructed or what the cost would be, but it plans to restrict the rollouts to certain server functions or roles. [24×7]
TransTech Conference Looking Green
High gas prices, over-reliance on foreign oil, climate change, and heightened concerns over port security—all issues that dominate today’s headlines. Now, a first-rate discussion of U.S. policy on energy and security is bringing together under one roof, a former CIA director and leading Members of Congress. This week’s TransTech Conference will feature real, live demonstrations of the latest electric plug-in hybrid and biofuel automobile technologies. [24×7]
TechCrunch Party This Wednesday
Following a very successful TechCrunch party in London last Monday, get ready for an encore event in Seattle this week co-produced by online realtor Redfin. The party is being held at ConWorks, the artsy warehouse-style space on the south shore of Lake Union with capacity to 800 people (a fun place to have a party). The event is free and open to everyone. Sponsors for the event are Redfin, Farecast and Triphub. [24×7]