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Is D.C. on the Way to Legalizing Online Poker?

Posted in Poker, Regulations by on February 2, 2011

An amendment introduced to the District of Columbia Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Support Act and approved with little fanfare or advance warning could signal a major change in the law of i-gaming.

The amendment, introduced by at-large Democrat Councilmember Michael A. Brown, would allow the D.C. Lottery to administer online poker by defining the D.C. Lottery to include both “games of skill and games of chance” and allowing the games to be played over the Internet within the District. According to the fiscal impact statement issued by D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, online poker administered by the D.C. Lottery would generate more than $13.5 million for the District of Columbia by 2014. It would bring in these funds through taxes levied on the winnings of District residents and through a 50-50 revenue sharing agreement with a contractor, Intralot. The D.C. Council approved the act, including this provision, by a vote of 11-2.

The act has been approved by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. Like all D.C. acts, it will next be sent to Congress for a 30-day review period. It remains to be seen whether members of Congress would prevent the poker measure from taking effect. Currently, although there is significant interest in a number of states, there are no legal Internet poker sites based in the United States. Late last year, a bill sponsored by Senator Harry Reid that would have fully licensed and regulated internet poker failed to garner the support necessary to become law.

If Congress does not accept the act, it may enact a joint resolution disapproving it. If, during the 30-day review period, the President approves Congress’s joint resolution, the act would be prevented from becoming law. If the President doesn’t approve such a joint resolution, the bill becomes law.

We hope that this act is passed with the amendment intact so that D.C. can benefit from a badly needed new source of revenue and lead the way for other jurisdictions to implement similar laws.

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  1. I am glad to see that DC may be on the route of fairness….allowing legal internet poker playing in the District of Columbia. Hopefully, the entire nation will follow suit, (SOON), and allow not only legalized intenet poker playing, but legalized internet playing of all other (table) casino games, as well.

    Some land-based casinos may feel threatened by this — but there is absolutely no reason for them to feel this way. Patriotic Ameicans would REALLY want to play in legalized internet casinos set up by American land-based casinos! Some years ago, in fact, (before the infamous UIEGUA took effect), one very famous land-based American casnio DID have an adjunct online casino. I enjoyed playing there, doubly, because it WAS from a US-based casino!

    Legally playing on US-based internet casinos can actually make people MORE responsible! Being able to play every day, one can limit one’s earnings. $200 each day means $73,000 every year. This is nearly Impossible to earn in a 2-week “vacation” to Atlantic City or Las Vegas! (Not to mention a weekened “vacation”)! Responsible daily gaming can lead to responsibility in other areas of one’s life!

    Right now, “there IS legal online gaming in the USA — on horseracing, or on “fantasy sports”.
    But these have such tremendous odds, that they make casino table-games look positively prim!
    The UIEGA says that poker and other casino table games are games of chance. Not as chancy as horse-racing or fantasy sports! Not as chancy as Keno, (on which most state lotteries are based) — not by a long shot!

    It’s time to stop the hypocracy! While rich legislators can, if they wish, gamble online and off, at European, Canadian, Australian, and African casinos, most American citizens, poor but proud, do not even have the money to get to a local land-based casino — and/or stay there long enough to make a feasible profit! Not only fairness suffers…..but so does the US Treasury, from not havingt the taxes American online gamers would glady pay from internet winnings. If legislators will just stop denigrating the intelligence of the “average” American citizen, and allow legalized, regulated internet gaming — Everyone will benefit!

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