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

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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.

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