Facts: Petitioner Lee Rousso sought a declaratory judgment in the Superior Court for King County that Washington Revised Code §9.46.240, which prohibits gambling via the internet, unduly burdens interstate commerce and therefore unconstitutionally infringes upon the authority of Congress under Article I §8 of the United States Constitution to regulate interstate commerce. The trial court granted summary judgment to the respondent state of Washington, ruling that §9.46.240 is constitutional insofar as it does not discriminate against out of state entities in favor of Washington entities and does not place an excessive burden upon interstate commerce in relation to the local benefit. Upon appeal, the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. Rousso appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Does §9.46.240′s ban on internet gambling unduly burden interstate commerce?
Conclusion: Justice Sanders’ opinion for a unanimous Court concluded that §9.46.240 is constitutional as Congress, by passing 31 U.S.C. §5363-5367 (the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006), expressly delegated to states the authority to regulate internet gambling and insofar as §9.46.240 imposes a blanket ban upon all internet gambling in the state of Washington and therefore does not discriminate against out of state entities. Thus, as the burden §9.46.240 places upon interstate commerce is not excessive in relation to the local benefit (as internet gambling enterprises can easily exclude Washington residents from using their services), the Court affirmed the decision of the Washington Court of Appeals.
Petitioner: Lee Rousso
(Counsel: Lee Rousso, with Thomas Goldstein on behalf of amicus Poker Players Alliance)
Respondent: State of Washington
(Counsel: Jerry Alan Ackerman and H. Bruce Marvin)
Argument: Thursday, May 27, 2010 10:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
Prevailing Party: State of Washington (Respondent)
Court: Madsen1 Court (2010-2011)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form. Each opinion should appear next to the Justice who authored it.