All bets are off at Betcha.com, a Seattle-based online bookmaker that couldn't skirt the state's gambling laws by making it optional for losing bettors to pay off wagers.
In a unanimous ruling Thursday, the Washington state Supreme Court said Betcha.com qualified as an illegal bookie because it arranged bets and took a percentage of the action as a fee.
Since that definition of professional gambling fits the company's activities, justices said they didn't have to decide whether optional payments by bettors would allow Betcha.com to technically escape the state's gambling restrictions.
"Under the statutory definition of bookmaking, it is immaterial whether or not Betcha users were engaged in gambling activity," Justice Tom Chambers wrote for the court.
In a blog post, Betcha.com founder Nicholas Jenkins said the court's reasoning "didn't pass the giggle test."
"Never in a million years did I expect an opinion like this one," Jenkins wrote. "The court's error is so obvious that I wonder if a single justice even cracked our brief, let alone the Revised Code of Washington."
Washington state allows some forms of non-tribal gambling, including cardrooms that offer poker, blackjack and other games with relatively low stakes. Online gambling and bookmaking fees, however, are specifically outlawed in the state. Internet gambling also is illegal on the federal level.