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AGLO 1970 No. 3 - January 13, 1970
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington
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                                                                 January 13, 1970
 
 
 
Honorable Gordon L. Walgren
State Senator, 23rd District
245 Fourth Street Building
Bremerton, Washington 98310
                                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGLO 1970 No. 3
 
 
Dear Sir:
 
            Responding to your letter dated December 31, 1969, we would refer you to the decision of the Washington Supreme Court in State ex rel. Evans v. Brotherhood, Etc., 41 Wn.2d 133,247 P.2d 787 (1952), which was cited in our earlier letter to you of December 24, 1969.
 
                                                                     ANALYSIS
 
            In the Evans case, the Washington court differentiated between those forms of gambling which possessed the three requisite elements of a lottery (i.e., prize, chance and consideration) and those that do not.  The court then held that any legislation purporting, totally, to immunize from any and all legal sanctions those gambling games which possess the three requisite elements of a lottery would be unconstitutional ‑ as violating Article II, § 24 of the Washington Constitution.  Our letter to you of December 24, 1969, discussing the constitutionality of a bill such as House Bill No. 453 (which was considered but not passed by the 1969 legislature) was written with full knowledge and understanding of this supreme court decision.
 
            On the other hand, implicit in this decision of the Washington court is the proposition that those forms of gambling which do not constitute lotteries are in nowise prohibited by the Constitution.  Therefore, with respect to this class of gambling activities, the issue of legalization or nonlegalization is totally one for the legislature, as a matter of policy, in its wisdom to determine.
 
            We trust that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.
 
Very truly yours,
 
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
 
 
Philip H. Austin
Assistant Attorney General
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