Poker News

In a rather bizarre interview posted on, Margarita Prentice, the brains behind the law in Washington State that makes playing online poker a Class C felony, insinuated that players out of a job should “go pump gas.”

Prentice told’s Gary Wise, “I just think some of these arguments are utter nonsense. You mean you’re going to move so you can play poker? Gee, lots of luck in your life… I have nothing against card playing. That’s fine. If you want to do that, but I’m sure not going to worry about someone… you know. Let them go pump gas.” Prentice added that state lawmakers simply added the word “internet” into existing gambling statutes to create the harsh law four years ago.

In response to Prentice’s off-the-wall comments, Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), internet gambling’s champion on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, told Wise, “Wow. The intolerance of that is just appalling, but that’s the attitude that goes with the sense you have the right to dictate other people’s lives to them.” Frank introduced HR 2267 in Washington, DC, a bill that creates a comprehensive licensing and regulatory framework for internet gambling companies to solicit U.S. customers.

Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Chairman Alfonse D’Amato, a former three-term Republican Senator from New York, echoed Frank’s thoughts: “She is why people are angry, because of the arrogance of those in government who say they know what’s best for you.” In November 2009, Prentice was ironically rumored to be considering sponsoring a bill that would bring internet keno to Washington State. The Seattle Times newspaper reported her involvement, although the bill ultimately did not come to fruition.

Late last week, Full Tilt Poker blocked real money play from Washington State, following a similar decision from rival PokerStars six weeks prior. In September, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld a law that makes playing online poker a Class C felony on the grounds that it does not violate the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. PPA Washington State Director Lee Rousso, a lawyer by trade, brought the suit, but the state’s highest judicial body argued that the law affected in-state and out-of-state internet gambling operators equally, thus not trampling on the Commerce Clause.

Prentice also told that she doesn’t foresee the law having major effects on online poker players: “I’ve never really understood all of the hysterics, and all of the beefs. I just can’t see anybody who’s having any major suffering over it.”

PPA Executive Director John Pappas was taken aback by Prentice’s comments to Pappas told Poker News Daily on Thursday, “It’s a complete picture of what kind of a lawmaker she is. Not only is she dismissive of an entire industry of individuals who enjoy poker, but the idea that her law is subjecting people to suffering – she’s totally ignorant of that. She refuses to see that she passed a law that’s unpopular.”

The PPA asked its members in Washington State to contact Prentice, a State Senator, “because her law affects everyone in the state. They should also contact their own members to repeal this law,” Pappas remarked. In addition, the PPA plans to work with the legislature to repeal the law in 2011. The statute was adopted in 2006 prior to the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) on the Federal level.

Online poker players in nearby states like Oregon have reported difficulties accessing Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars. In response to the former pulling out of Washington State last week, Seattle poker pro Matt Affleck Tweeted, “Sigh, Full Tilt Poker follows Stars’ lead and bans Washington State players… No idea what I’m going to do now.”

Meanwhile, the PPA continues to push Frank’s HR 2267 on Capitol Hill. Now in the “lame duck” session, Congress has been considering a number of proposals. The PPA and online poker players everywhere are keeping a watchful eye on HR 2267, which was passed out of the House Financial Services Committee in July. Pappas revealed, “There is still a lot of keen interest in getting something done and getting something passed. The biggest stumbling block we have is what the vehicle is for this bill.” HR 2267 and its tax companion bill, HR 4976, could be attached as a “pay-for” to a budget-related measure.

Read the entire article.


  1. sajeffe says:

    [Prentice also told that she doesn’t foresee the law having major effects on online poker players: “I’ve never really understood all of the hysterics, and all of the beefs. I just can’t see anybody who’s having any major suffering over it.”]

    Well therein lies the problem, right? She can’t see. Sounds like she’s a bit out of touch, too. Go pump gas? Hmmm. What’s the unemployment rate in WA?

    Ignorant people terrify me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    where do you find a station that pumps your gas anymore?

  3. Nrocme says:

    Welcome to a true republicans dream world. A world in which they can censor and control. You shall not play poker because I think it is evil. You elected them and this is the results. You are now disconnected.

  4. Listening says:

    “I just can’t see anybody who’s having any major suffering over it.”…………..
    I wonder why you’d make something a felony that “no one has any major suffering over?” Maybe to protect other gambling interests that fund your campaign?

  5. Anonymous says:

    @Nrocme – She is a Democrat. Ignorance has no boundaries.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ummm… Nrocme, you know she’s a Democrat right?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Excellent! One more state I can cross off my list of “states to consider moving to”. I really don’t understand what makes anyone, especially politicians, think they know what’s best for someone else. Maybe they should consider spending more time and money putting real criminals in jail, not people playing cards on the computer in their own living room.
    “go pump gas” ??? Welcome to the 21st century, you relic! Sorry that your crotch is dusty and filled with cobwebs, but don’t take it out on the tax-paying people that pay your salary.

  8. None says:

    Nrocme this fat pig is a Demoncrat you idiot.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I guess when she fails to get reelected it’ll be no big deal, she can just go clean hotel rooms.

  10. Anonymous says:

    im glad i live in nz. she will curl over soon enough dont worry

  11. treasa says:

    woman you are off your rocker….crazy old hag…dont worry bout my money!!! you take enough of it….wow….you politicains kill me

  12. Matt says:

    Ignorance and close mindedness never did anyone well woman. What a plague to the existance of mankind. If people like you ruled the world, racism would still run rampant. Barney Frank got it right, this woman really thinks she has the right to dictate peoples lives for them… What a terrible person

  13. Anonymous says:

    Glad I moved the hell out of that state some time ago.. Protect the indian casinos?? As a commercial fisherman.. Had to leave as to get some fishing seasons due to the poor indians.. This sucks

  14. Anonymous says:

    “go pump gas”? Where the hell in Washington can anyone do that as a job, when could they do that ever in this state? Blind, dumb, fat, old politicians surviving on our tax dollars need to step back and consider where their paychecks are coming from. If we can’t play, we will NOT pay, and those damned indian casinos will only benefit from its legalization. Imagine this, they can then run their own casino’s online as well inviting people from all over the country, even the entire World, to play at their casino’s. Most of which would never set foot in their physical casino’s. Seems to me this would only INCREASE the indian casino’s profits a hundredfold, and keep the public off the politicians backs. Not to mention we already have our hands full in the prison system with true hardened criminals. Don’t tell me you’re going to release the murderous lot to make room for card players.

    Don’t give me this crap about it being a game of chance either. If that is true then why is so difficult to be successful at it? Anything worth doing is never easy. I would suggest banning online slots before touching poker, those are true games of chance and have a long history of ruining lives.

    Ultimately it is not up to big brother/sister to determine what we can or cannot do in the privacy of our own homes. Never has been that way and hopefully never will be that way. Americans…STAND THE FUCK UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. RobertB says:

    I just sent the COMMUNIST DICTATOR a letter which calls her just THAT!

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