June 7th, 2006


This is gambling information. You are all felons.

Washington just passed a bill - S.S.B. No. 6613, "clarifying" the pre-existing state law on gambling:

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

The new bill adds "the internet" and "a telecommunications transmission system" to the list of taboo media.

I'm not a gambler, really - I've played poker a few times, and I'm ahead. I've never been to a casino, I've never played online.


I really don't like the character of this law - it's dreadfully vague (what constitutes "gambling information"? What constitutes "similar means"?), and it seems to fly right in the face of freedom of speech - I've got a protected right to distribute information, including about gambling.

As probably an inevitable consequence of criminalizing a huge category of activities, the law will probably never be enforced per se. And that irks me most. "Here's something like a law. It's law-ish. We're not sure exactly what it means, and heck, we won't decide until we want to prosecute you for doing something else."

Gr. I looked up my representatives' email addresses and everything. I may even use them. But discussing gambling in email is a felony in Washington.