Washington Supreme Court rules against Betcha.com

3 September 2010
Nick Jenkins' long court battle with the state of Washington is finally over, and the Betcha.com founder didn't get what he was hoping for.

"The Washington State Supreme Court issued its opinion today, and we got creamed," Jenkins' wrote in his family's blog.

The state Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that Betcha.com operated as an illegal bookmaker, allowing users to make bets against each other and generating revenue by taking a percentage of the bet as a fee.

Jenkins launched the online betting exchange in the summer of 2007, and the Washington State Gambling Commission raided his offices and shut the site down just 13 days later.

Jenkins' contention, which was supported by the Washington State Court of Appeals in February 2009, was that his site did not constitute gambling since losing players had the opportunity to back out of bets by refusing to pay up. "Welching," or refusing to pay lost bets, however, could result in negative feedback from the winning bettor on the site, making it more difficult to find others to bet with on the site down the road.

"Under the statutory definition of bookmaking, it is immaterial whether or not Betcha users were engaged in gambling activity," wrote Justice Tom Chambers.

"The Court was so wrong it almost defies belief," wrote Jenkins. "The Court never reached the question of whether Betcha bettors were 'gambling.' Thus, the Court held that I was engaged in professional gambling even if no one was actually gambling. Amazing."

"Never in a million years did I expect an opinion like this one," Jenkins continued. "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."

Aaron Todd

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Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.