Poker is not a crime. That is the theme of a rally being organized by the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) on May 27 in front of the Washington Supreme Courthouse. Lee Rousso, former Democratic nominee for Governor and current Washington State director for the PPA will be testifying before the Supreme Court that day in support of overturning a current law that makes playing online poker a felony, and Rousso will gather with others like poker pro Phil Gordon and PPA Chairman and former Senator Alfonse D’Amato to show support for poker. Rousso, an attorney in Washington, has been fighting to legalize online poker in the state for a number of years, but it was specifically a law supported and signed by current Governor Christine Gregoire in 2006 that make any online gambling, including poker, a class C felony on par with child pornography or drug possession. After withdrawing from the governor’s race, he concentrated on a lawsuit he filed challenging the constitutionality of the gaming law under the Commerce Clause, questioning the right of Congress to regulate interstate and international commerce. Though it took several years, the case was accepted by the Washington State Supreme Court. In 2009, the Court of Appeals ruled against Rousso, but he remains hopeful that the Supreme Court will rule differently.
The PPA took to the case, seeing the hypocrisy of a state that outlaws online poker but allows live poker in card rooms throughout the state. The organization submitted an amicus brief to the Court in the hopes of helping Rousso, who will be representing himself alongside a PPA lawyer. Several poker players - Cheryl Blake, John Blake, Rob Esene, and Jim Gauley - also filed amicus briefs in the case.
The PPA organized the rally and press conference to bring awareness to the issue. The May 27th rally is to be held just outside the Supreme Court in Olympia, Washington, at 415 12th Avenue SW. Everyone is asked to gather at 10am on that Thursday, and the group will be joined by local PPA members, Rousso upon his exit from the courthouse, Washington State native Phil Gordon, PPA Executive Director John Pappas, and PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato. The general public is welcome to join.
Anyone wanting to join is welcome to attend, and more information can be obtained by contacting Teresa Schofield at (202) 347-7516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.