D.C. Becomes First Place in U.S. to Legalize Online Poker

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Yesterday, April 7, 2011, saw a historic moment in igaming as the District of Columbia became the first American jurisdiction to enact a law that allows online poker wagering. The amendment, called the “Lottery Modernization Act of 2010” for the year it was introduced, is part of a larger budget bill passed by the D.C. Council in December 2010 and enacted after passing through Congress unblocked. This amendment changes prior D.C. gaming law by redefining the term “lotteries” to include not only games of chance, but also games of skill such as poker.

The law allows the D.C. Lottery to offer poker over the Internet to players located within the District. While additional steps must be taken by the D.C. government to actually implement online poker play, this law is a promising first step that opens the door for other states, as well as the federal government, to follow suit in legalizing online poker.

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