Washington D.C. Online Poker

Washington D.C. was the first U.S. jurisdiction to pass online poker.  The law also allowed for several other online gambling games to be offered by the city’s lottery.  This law was passed on April 7, 2011, just a week before the Black Friday indictments were unsealed against Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.  Congress has the ability to veto laws passed by the District of Columbia within 30 Congressional days.  Congress failed to do so and the law went into effect.  Unfortunately for Washington D.C. online poker players, it was repealed in 2012.

Washington D.C. Online Gambling Rules

The law allowed online poker and slot machine style games that do not require skill.  It also allowed for the sale of online scratch off tickets and lotto drawing sales.  Council member Michael A. Brown pushed the amendment on the hopes that it would generate $13 million a year for the city’s lottery and provide protections to players that frequented offshore gaming sites.  Games would have been restricted to the hours of 10am-4am daily.  Unfortunately for Washington D.C. residents and visitors, these games never went live.

The Washington D.C. online poker lottery law was met with opposition once it was known that it contained online casino and poker language.  Online poker never reached the development phase and most industry observers knew that it would never go live.

This particular law only covered the city of Washington D.C. and did not involve any regulation by the federal government.  This law only involved the city’s lottery and was approved only by its city council.  The online poker debate on the federal level is an entirely different issue.

Current Washington D.C. Gambling

Washington D.C. does not have any casinos or any other gambling outside of the lottery.  Maryland, a state that borders Washington DC, has racetracks that offer slot machines, video poker and video versions of table games.  Maryland voters recently approved table games at their racetracks.  This referendum also approved resort style casinos within the state.  These casinos are expected to go live in 2016.  In the meantime, Washington D.C. residents can drive to Delaware, West Virginia or Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Read the Washington D.C. online gaming bill that never went into effect here.