Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1969 NO. 9 >

(1) The possession of (a) a multiple coin "bingo" type pinball machine, or (b) a punchboard or pull tab device each of which is more fully described in the body of this opinion is unlawful per se , under RCW 9.47.030 and 9.47.110, without extrinsic proof that the particular machine or device is being operated for the winning or losing of money or property. (2) The games of poker, rummy, pinochle, cribbage, or panguingue, and similar card games, when played for either limited or unlimited stakes in an establishment which is paid either a fixed amount per hour or per hand by the players, violate RCW 9.47.010 and 9.47.020. (3) The game of bingo, when played for a money or merchandise prize by persons who have paid a valuable consideration to play, constitutes an illegal lottery under the provisions of RCW 9.59.010.  (4) The fact that an illegal gambling game or lottery is conducted by a charitable, religious or fraternal organization, with all proceeds to be devoted to the purposes of the organization, does not constitute a defense to criminal liability. (5) A city or county may not license and thereby permit the possession or operation of any gambling game or device which is violative of any state statute.

AGO 1996 NO. 13 >

1.  Under the Washington State Constitution, article 2, section 24, an initiative authorizing forms of electromechanical gaming not previously authorized would require a sixty percent majority vote to be effective. 2.  The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. §§ 2701 et. seq. ) does not preempt state authority to set state policy on gambling, or to determine the procedures by which state gambling laws will be adopted and/or modified.

AGO 1973 NO. 15 >

The provisions of § 7, chapter 218, Laws of 1973, Ex.Sess., under which gambling activities licensed by the state gambling commission may be prohibited by a first class city, do not extend to cities in excess of twenty thousand which have adopted the optional municipal code.

AGO 1975 NO. 16 >

The proprietor or owner of a restaurant, tavern, coffee shop or similar establishment would be engaged in the conduct of prohibited gambling activities within the meaning of chapter 9.46 RCW if such proprietor or owner, without other participation in the game, were  (1) To maintain on the premises for use by its patrons, customers or others a board, sheet or other similar paraphernalia to be used in the conduct of a football, baseball or other sports pool, and in connection with such pool were to assign scores, receive wagers and distribute anything of value to a contestant, although without fee, commission or other profit for such services;  (2) Except to the extent of card games licensed under RCW 9.46.030, to furnish dice or playing cards to patrons, customers or others on the premises of the establishment to be utilized by such persons for gambling in order to determine which person in their number shall pay the cost of the meals, drinks or other sustenance purchased on the premises;  (3) To maintain on the premises for the convenience of his patrons, customers or others, any of the aforesaid devices which are in fact owned by such persons and utilized by them for the purposes set forth in (2) above.

AGO 1971 NO. 21 >

Applicability of chapter 280, Laws of 1971, 1st Ex. Sess., to bingo, raffles, amusement games, to other gambling games, and to games of skill, when conducted as part of an agricultural fair.

AGO 1963 NO. 22 >

Under the constitution and statutes of this state a lottery consists of three elements:  (1) prize; (2) chance; and (3) consideration.  The name of the scheme or enterprise is immaterial.  A violation of our lottery statute (RCW 9.59.010) occurs where a store advertises and operates a scheme whereby customers who make purchases in a certain amount (which are recorded on a premium card) or who have made a certain number of visits to a store (and have received the required number of free punches on the premium card) may win from $1 to $1,000.  The first two elements are clearly present; the third, consideration, is established by the fact the paying and nonpaying participants are inextricably grouped together.

AGO 1972 NO. 25 >

The veto power of the governor is applicable to a bill authorizing lotteries passed by a sixty percent majority of the members of both houses of the legislature under Article II, § 24 of the state Constitution, as amended by SJR No.5, unless such bill, upon passage, is, instead, submitted to the electors as a referendum under Article II, § 1 (Amendment 7).

AGO 1972 NO. 30 >

(1) A member operating a bingo game under the provisions of RCW 9.47.390 may be compensated for doing so at a fixed hourly or other periodic rate so long as his compensation is not based upon a percentage of the receipts or net profits derived from the operation of such game. (2) Such compensation as is paid to a member operating a bingo game under the provisions of RCW 9.47.390 may not be paid out of the proceeds derived from the game by the bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization which is operating said bingo game.

AGLO 1977 NO. 35 >

On and after the effective date of chapter 76, Laws of 1977, 1st Ex.Sess., it will be legally permissible for a limited fee to be charged for playing licensed social card games in accordance with the provisions of §§ 1(18) and 2(11) of that act.

AGLO 1974 NO. 49 >

While the ultimate approval of sixty percent of the voters will be required to pass a referendum bill authorizing lotteries under Article II, § 24 of the state Constitution, the legislature may pass and order a referendum on such a bill by a simple majority vote of the members of both houses.