DC to offer Internet gambling, becomes first in US
Wednesday, April 13, 2022 1:34 AM

Related Stories



(Source: Associated Press/AP Online)By ERIC TUCKER

WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia is becoming the first U.S. jurisdiction to allow Internet gambling, trying to raise millions of dollars from the habits of online poker buffs and acting ahead of traditional gambling meccas like New Jersey and Nevada.

Permitting the online games was part of the 2011 budget and a 30-day period for Congress to object expired last week, said D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown, who authored the provision. The gaming would be operated by Intralot, a Greece-based company, and would be available only to gamblers within the borders of the district.

Officials were not sure when the gaming would be up and running, though DC lottery officials said they were in talks with their vendor and expect to know more within weeks. Though other states have contemplated legalizing online poker, experts said the district would be the first jurisdiction in the country to do it.

The move to legalize the games comes despite a 2006 federal law that effectively banned Internet gambling. The law basically prohibited banks and credit card companies from processing payments from gambling companies to individuals. But the law is murky, and gambling experts say it created enough grey areas to open the door for a deeper expansion into the multibillion dollar industry.

"There was really no clear law that said we could not do this," Brown said Wednesday.

D.C. hopes to tap those millions to help offset budget cuts and help social services programs, Brown said. Conservative estimates from D.C.'s chief financial officer indicate the district could bring in around $13 million to $14 million through fiscal year 2014, according to Brown's office.

The gambling green light is no doubt good news to poker players, but D.C. would be authorized to offer other games of both skill and chance. It would be up to lottery officials to come up with regulations and decide which games to permit.

"Anytime you're cutting budgets and you want to save some programs, you're looking for different pieces from different pots and you hope that you get to the number that restores those budget shortfalls and that's what we're trying to do with this," Brown said.

Jeff Ifrah, a lawyer whose firm represents online gaming companies, said he was dubious about any revenue estimates since they naturally assume that online poker players will migrate from their favorite site to a new one endorsed by a state.

"Players are really loyal in this industry," Ifrah said. "You really have to ask yourself what is the incentive a player is going to have to leave a trusted site with global competition to play in a site that's untested and kind of unknown and doesn't offer you the same level of play."

Online poker games generally allow computer users to deposit money into an account and place wagers against other players similar to real gambling.

Efforts to legalize Internet gambling have stalled elsewhere this year, including in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a measure partly out of concern that bars, nightclubs and amusement parks would add online gaming to attract more customers.

A bill in Hawaii died in the Legislature and another one in Iowa is unlikely to move forward in its current form. In Nevada on Tuesday, a legislative panel amended and approved a bill that directs the state Gaming Commission to begin drafting rules to regulate online poker. But the bill also stipulates that Internet gambling would not be implemented until sanctioned by Congress or the Justice Department.

David Schwartz, director of the UNLV Center for Gaming Research, said he thought states were waiting for clearer federal guidance before proceeding with Internet gambling proposals.

"There's a lot of ambiguity at the federal level," he said. "A lot of people are waiting for some sort of federal legislation that would create a regulatory structure."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department, which has traditionally viewed Internet gambling as illegal, declined to comment Tuesday.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said Tuesday he didn't know how far along the process was but added, "Assuming it's implemented it would become a part of our lottery program and could generate additional resources for the District of Columbia as we continue to support ourselves."

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

 

Sponsors

Symbol :

Advertisement

Market news:

  • NATO ministers: Libya's future without Gadhafi Apr 14, 2022 06:09 AM

    • BERLIN - NATO nations stressed their common goals in Libya - bringing an end to Moammar Gadhafi's regime - instead of their differences Thursday as ministers met amid a rift over the scope of NATO's military operation in Libya.
    • The effort to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya tops the foreign ministers' agenda at the two-day meeting, which also will address efforts to hand over security responsibility in Afghanistan to local forces.
    • Three weeks of airstrikes haven't routed Gadhafi's forces, and France has said NATO isn't doing enough.
      • Sheen says he may return to 'Two and a Half Men' Apr 14, 2022 05:54 AM

        • LOS ANGELES - Charlie Sheen says he may be reunited with "Two and a Half Men."
        • In an interview with a Boston radio station Tuesday, Sheen said there have been discussions about bringing him back to the hit CBS sitcom he was fired from last month.
        • CBS declined to comment, and series producer Warner Bros. Television didn't immediately return a call for comment.
          • Bay of Pigs marked men who helped make Miami, US Apr 14, 2022 05:44 AM

            • MIAMI - In the weeks before U.S.-backed exiles invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, Felix Rodriguez was spirited into the island to work with underground forces against Fidel Castro's fledgling revolutionary government.
            • A 19-year-old named Santiago Alvarez stood ready in the Florida Keys for orders to attack by sea, while another exile, Alfredo Duran, trained in Guatemala for a beachfront assault at Playa Giron on Cuba's southern coast.
            • The failed invasion 50 years ago this Sunday forever shaped the lives of Rodriguez, Alvarez and Duran, just as it defined U.S. policy at home and abroad.
              • France: No place for Gadhafi in Libya's future Apr 14, 2022 05:24 AM

                • BERLIN - France's foreign minister says there will have to be a "political solution" in Libya, but insists there is no place for Moammar Gadhafi in Libya's future.
                • Officials are to discuss the way forward in Libya following a trans-Atlantic rift over the alliance-led military operation there.
                • Three weeks of airstrikes haven't routed Gadhafi's forces, and France says NATO and other countries aren't doing enough.
                  • Fresh nuke plant woes, as police search for bodies Apr 14, 2022 04:52 AM

                    • TOKYO - A new glitch in the cooling of used fuel at Japan's crippled nuclear plant prompted a surge in radiation, but an overall decline in leaks allowed police Thursday to search for missing tsunami victims closer to the complex than ever before.
                    • Police in protective gear scoured a 6-mile (10-kilometer) radius around the Fukushima Dai-ichi for the first time Thursday as part of their search for thousands of victims still missing after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
                    • "We need to work very carefully so as not to rip our radiation suits with the debris, metal and chunks of concrete scattered everywhere in the zone," a police officer who gave only his surname, Sato, said in a telephone interview.

                      More news


Advertisement

    Recent Estimates

AnalystFirm NameSymbolEPS Estimate
markinsurace guru CINF$0.36
XXXXXXXXXX AAPL$5.32
XXXXXXXXXX ISRG$2.49
JakeXXXXX PKD$0.06
XXXXXXXXXX CRTP$0.08
XXXXXXXXXX AA$0.27
Benjamin ThurmondGlobal Electronics HGSI($0.44)
N/AN/A LNN$0.70
NemoXXXXX MOS$1.08
XXXXXXXXXX WMT$0.96