Washington is an interesting state because there have been several efforts to legalize online poker in the state legislature, though all of them have failed.
The State of Washington is rough when it comes to illegal gambling and transmission or receipt of gambling information which is a Class C Felony. Furthermore, there have been amendments to the law to specify that the Internet also falls under this category:
9.46.235 << 9.46.240 >> 9.46.250
Gambling information, transmitting or receiving.
Whoever knowingly transmits or receives gambling information by telephone, telegraph, radio, semaphore, the internet, a telecommunications transmission system, or similar means, or knowingly installs or maintains equipment for the transmission or receipt of gambling information shall be guilty of a class C felony subject to the penalty set forth in RCW 9A.20.021. However, this section shall not apply to such information transmitted or received or equipment installed or maintained relating to activities authorized by this chapter or to any act or acts in furtherance thereof when conducted in compliance with the provisions of this chapter and in accordance with the rules adopted under this chapter.
[ 2006 c 290 § 2; 1991 c 261 § 9; 1987 c 4 § 44; 1973 1st ex.s. c 218 § 24.]
State policy—2006 c 290: "It is the policy of this state to prohibit all forms and means of gambling, except where carefully and specifically authorized and regulated. With the advent of the internet and other technologies and means of communication that were not contemplated when either the gambling act was enacted in 1973, or the lottery commission was created in 1982, it is appropriate for this legislature to reaffirm the policy prohibiting gambling that exploits such new technologies." [ 2006 c 290 § 1.]
Class C felonies in the state are punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, so Washington is, by far, the most serious state with respect to theoretical punishment for gambling online.
There are also a number of penalties for operators of gambling houses and other illegal forms of gambling with punishment dependent upon what specific provision of the law was violated.
Last year, there was a bust of an illegal poker game after the business owner had previously received a warning, in the article, it is specifically stated that even the individual players may face charges due to the illegal gambling conduct.
There was also a huge story from 2010 in which PokerStars and Full Tilt pulled out of the Washington market due to the fact that illegal online gambling looked like it might be enforced against mere players.
Though the professional player was not arrested, he was concerned that he could be if he continued to play within the State of Washington and was faced with a decision to either quit playing poker online or to move due to the fact that the sites blocked him.
Washington carries with it the strictest penalty for unlawful online gambling and, in at least that one instance, it appeared that they were willing to enforce those laws, although we could find no further instance of that happening...and it also concerned a professional player. However, given these draconian laws, we have no choice but to rank the State of Washington as banned.
FINAL RANKING: Banned-20
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