A Renton, Washington lawyer has filed a lawsuit challenging the Washington state ban on Internet poker, the Seattle Intelligencer newspaper reports.

Lawyer Lee Rousso  filed his complaint in the King County Superior Court, claiming that the 2006 ban on internet poker is a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause, which prohibits individual states from enacting laws that discriminate against interstate businesses.

Rousso, a poker player who has experience in both land tournament and online poker, says the ban, which makes online poker a Class C felony smacks of protectionism for the widespread internal state gambling industry, which embraces almost every other form of gambling.

Rousso, who is the Washington representative of the 570 000 strong Poker Players' Alliance pressure group said the "first legal challenge to the law also should be the last." The lawyer told the Seattle Intelligencer that he thought his chances of success in overthrowing the law were "darn good."

The complaint lists seven points to illustrate why the Washington State law is unconstitutional, and specifically notes that the author of the original bill, State Sen. Margarita Prentice, received contributions from the Washington casinos, alleging that these companies "were the intended and/or actual beneficiaries of SB 6613." Rousso is seeking a declaratory judgment against the bill, which would render it void and unenforceable.

The Washington state ban came into law on Bill SB 6613 in the state last year and prohibits Internet based card and other casino games.

A spokeswoman for the Washington Gambling Commission, Susan Arland said their lawyers have not yet seen the lawsuit and would comment only after they have read it. "We don't have anything to say just just yet," said Arland.

Rousso said the state law is "flawed", arguing that the state measure was passed not to put the state in compliance with the federal Wire Act. "Instead," he said, it "protects the in-state gambling industry, including card rooms and casinos."

"This," said Rousso, "puts Washington in clear conflict with the Constitution's Commerce Clause", which forbids individual states from passing protectionist laws against other state's business.