D.C. Legalizes Online Poker
Washington D.C. has officially done what New Jersey, Iowa and Nevada have not been able to do - legalize online poker.
Introduced as part of the "Lottery Modernization Act of 2010," residents and visitors to the District of Columbia can now legally play online poker.
The bill allows the D.C. Lottery to run online games of skill and chance, and online poker is among the games slated to be offered by the lottery. Congress had until midnight on April 7 to block the new law, but a block did not come and the bill is now official.
According to D.C.'s chief financial officer, the city can generate revenue of up to $13 million over the first three years that the city has online gambling. Once games are operational, anyone living in or visiting the district can legally play online, but that may be some time coming.
Before online poker can be offered by the D.C. Lottery, the municipal government must outline the exact details of game play online. Also, regulations administering online gambling must be drawn up and pass through a period of public comment.
How successful this new venture will become remains to be seen. D.C. is only a market of around 600,000, not including visitors, tourists, and short-term guests. It is expected that residents will be able to officially play sometime in 2012.
The success or failure of this venture may heavily influence the issue of online gambling. Iowa and New Jersey have had attempts to legalize online gambling either denied or vetoed in recent months and California is still debating the issue.
Other states, such as Washington, have outright banned online gambling, including poker. Success by this first intrastate gambling venture may prove to be enough to force those on the fence to create their own ventures.
Failure may be a "nail in the coffin" so to speak for any future chances of online poker legalization.