Is Advertising Online Gambling Illegal in the State of Washington?
I wished to create a website to advertise Online Gambling to persons living in jurisdictions where Online Gambling isn’t illegal. Prior to creating the website, I did some research to find out if advertising Online Gambling via a website located in the U.S. is illegal. In short it appears that it isn’t illegal, yet. Its sort of in the Grey-area at this time. TheFederal Communication Commission (FCC) is the regulatory body responsible for Internet
As a new webmaster with a new Online Gambling website, I find this to be some what of a boon
and a bane, which is addressed below. The F.C.C. is of course a Federal agency, thinking in
that context I didn’t consider the Situs 4D State level. Even though Federal laws and regulations
supercede State and Local laws, regulations.
How did I come to think about Washington State laws, regulations, when in fact the F.C.C. is
in charge of the Internet. Here’s what happened!
On 7-7-05 I posted in a Gambling webmasters forum, requesting a ‘Site review’ and received
some constructive advice on my website. Keep in mind that I began uploading site on 6-14-05
so the site had been on the internet for only three weeks. I wasn’t receiving any traffic
excepting myself and gambling webmasters from the forum and some affiliate managers to whose
program I applied.
I had second thoughts about posting in a Gambling webmaster forum, thinking that if the
Federal Government wanted to persecute or harass Gambling website owners residing in the
(US), a Gambling webmasters forum would be a good place for them to stake-out, so to speak.
Also this forum is an organization that deals with Gambling Casino merchants on behalf of
Gambling website owners, lots of members.
Hoping to get in the big 3 Search engines I Checked my traffic Statistics, there wasn’t much
to look at. A section of the statistics page (Country) lists which Countries visitors are
coming from. The Country listing looked like this on 7-8-05.
3 US Commercial
4 Non-Profit Organization
13 United Kingdom
on 7-9-05, Country had one additional entry, US Government, and looked like the following.
3 US Commercial
4 Non-Profit Organization
13 United Kingdom
14 US Government
Looking at the new entry ‘US Government’ first thing in the morning, my mind began swimming
with ‘what if’s’ and my stomach is feeling a little queasy, I couldn’t help wondering if I
were standing up, would my legs be shaking. Should I have avoided posting in the Gambling
webmasters forum and hopefully ‘fly under the radar’ or is this simply a coincidence, am I
At 7am the coffee is still perking and with this eye-opener my mind is racing, my stomach
unsettled. I needed to grab a cup of coffee and a cigarette and head out to the patio for a
few moments of reflection. As I stood up and looked out the window directly in front of me, I
saw an unmarked white police type cruiser with a plain-clothes driver very slowly cruising
past my house.
Now the legs are shaky! my first thought is, should I get some of the dark Rum in the
cupboard to fortify my coffee. No its much to early for Rum. On the patio I nervously drag on
my cigarette and can only sip on the hot coffee. Cursing myself for not adding the Rum, to at
least cool down the coffee. I needed a few quick gulps to replace the uneasy feeling in my
stomach with something warm and pleasant.
Questioning the circumstances, a Gambling website, my research, the posting in the forum, ‘US
Government’ visitor in Traffic logs, unmarked police car. Was this
just a pair of coincidence’s. That was definitely an unmarked car, the type law enforcement
uses, not from the EPA or County employees checking their area out. Was the unmarked car federal or could the Feds have contacted local law enforcement to have them check out the
website owners address.
I began to wonder if the ‘unmarked cruiser’ was the Washington State police. Then it dawned
on me that even though the FCC is in charge of the Internet, perhaps the State of Washington
has laws prohibiting, advertisement of Online Gambling by State residents. I better Check.
I loathe the thought of perhaps spending hours searching the Washington State website for
information on, advertising Online Gambling. Well, maybe someone else has done that already,
perhaps I should type in ‘advertise online gambling Washington’ into Yahoo search and hope to
JackPot! the first listing is entitled: Washington State Gambling Commission –
Internet/Online Gambling Questions. My luck is running now, nervously scanning the document I
find just what I’m looking for.
Can I advertise gaming activities online?
State laws do not prevent the advertising of gaming activities online, as long as the subject
of the advertisement is authorized gaming activities. However, other agencies, such as the
Federal Communications Commission, may have statutes and regulations that apply. Any of the
house-banked or tribal casinos, or bingo operators may advertise on the Internet; however, no
one may advertise or solicit citizens of Washington State to wager online.
Well the news isn’t bad, but is still basically in the Grey-area, relief. I started wondering
if other Online Gambling webmasters located in the State of Washington, had anxious feelings
or experiences similar to mine. Prompting me to submit this article with the related url’s
for them to peruse.
Above I mentioned that the current legal standing Grey-area situation, is some what a boon
and a bane for Gambling portal webmasters. People from the U.S.A. inquire in forums about the
legality of advertising Online Gambling, all the time.
Boon. This uncertainty keeps many potential Gambling webmasters out of Gambling affiliate
marketing. Resulting in less competition for the rest of us, and very importantly keeps
Gambling Merchant operators from reducing the compensation aspect of their programs, because
of fewer affiliates marketing their program.
Bane. The other side is that the U.S. Government could decide to make advertising Online
Gambling explicitly illegal at some time in the future. Thus necessitating Gambling portal
webmasters to shut down their websites and lose all the many hours of work they invested in
creating, maintaining their websites, not to mention lost income.