While other areas of the country have lawmakers debating whether or not to regulate online gambling, Washington D.C. has already made the commitment. The D.C. Lottery is in final preparations to unveil their new online casino.
The online offerings will first be open for gamblers to play for fake money. That will give the lottery time to make sure that all of the possible kinks in the system are worked out before the casino goes live with real cash.
At first, gamblers will be able to play their favorite casino games such as Texas Hold’em and blackjack. Additionally, bingo will be one of the six games available for players to enjoy in the first couple of weeks. Although the lottery has been given the green light, it does not mean everyone is happy about the online gambling.
“What this will do is create more gambling addicts, bring about more bankruptcies in Washington DC, bring in more foreclosures,” said Stop Predatory Gambling member Nathaniel Beaudoin. “and this will cause more people to go on public assistance programs, which is going to cause them to go deeper and deeper in debt.”
That viewpoint is not shared by all, as many residents of the area believe that gambling will provide financial relief and create much needed jobs. The online gambling plan in DC will still have to deal with possible federal law violations.
On a federal level, the government has for the past five years taken a prohibitive stance regarding Internet gambling. On Friday, however, Representative Joe Barton introduced a bill that would regulate online poker. The bill keeps prohibition in place for other games that the D.C. Lottery is expected to offer, such as blackjack and scratch-off tickets.
Residents of DC can expect to start playing the demo games in the next couple of months. Once the demo games are tested and are running with all proper safeguards, the games are expected to go live in the Fall.
One of the issues that the lottery wants tested is whether gamblers from outside DC can hack into the casino and play games. Part of the regulations governing the availability of the online gambling is that only DC residents are permitted to gamble on the site.