A few pics from Halloween 2009, Reese’s third and Finn’s second:
Archive for November 1st, 2009
The depths to which the Washington State Gambling Commission will sink to shut down Betcha.com never cease to amaze me.
First they recruit other states (Louisiana and one other) to come after me and my colleagues. Then they materially mislead a state court judge to obtain a search warrant, which they subsequently used to raid our offices. Then they try to sell their take of the office raid — all while a court case on the merits is pending. Then they say they don’t understand Betcha or state gambling law well enough to file their briefs. Then they lobby Governor Gregoire’s staff to get the governor to sign our extradition papers to Louisiana with our hearing on the merits scheduled for just days later. Upon losing in the Court of Appeals, Commission members introduce no fewer than three bills (SB’s 6103 and 6152, HB 2355) specifically designed to make Betcha.com illegal, all while they appealed their loss to the state supreme court.
Each of those bills died in committee.
Turns out the Commission tried to kill Betcha through the back door. I’ve been pursuing some public records requests with the WSGC to try and piece together how it was that I ended up sitting in a Louisiana jail. As part of that request, I obtained a April 16, 2009 e-mail from Commission Director Rick Day to Rep. Gary Alexander, a state legislator charged with passing the state budget. Seems Director Day and Sen. Margarita Prentice, an ex officio member of the WSGC and Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, wanted the definition of gambling amended through the state budget:
Senator Prentice has included a fix to the definition of gambling (SB6152) with implementation of the budget. I wanted to let you know that a similar bill has been introduced in the House by Representatives Simpson and Ericks. This change just ensures that the definition of gambling includes conditional wagers. The Commission voted unanimously to support this clarification of the gambling definition as originally reflected in SB6103.
The problem came from an appellate court decision in an Internet case. However, the fix is really not about the internet as is intended to ensure that other forms of gambling like bookmaking aren’t unintentionally authorized because of the opinion. The Attorney General’s office is appealing the decision but this process is likely to take at least five months.
Please let me know if you have questions or need further information.
Rick Day, Director
Washington State Gambling Commission
Where to start.
Director Day mentioned that Rep. Simpson and Ericks had introduced bills similar to SB 6152 in the House. He did not mention that at least Rep. Simpson, also an ex officio member, did so at the Commission’s behest. The idea that Division Two’s opinion in the Betcha case would authorize “other forms of gambling like bookmaking” is laughable. Bookmaking remains illegal in this state. Division Two just said that Betcha didn’t engage in it. (Incidentally, we’ve long maintained that bookmaking requires an active position in a gambling transaction. By characterizing bookmaking as a “form of gambling,” Director Day appears to agree with us.)
Oh, and if you’re wondering what the definition of gambling has to do with the state budget, you’re not alone. The answer is “nothing.”