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Washington D.C. To Offer Online Gambling

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The movement to legalise and regulate online gambling in the United States received a massive boost this week with the news that Washington D.C. will become the first jurisdiction in the nation to offer the popular internet activity to its residents.

Ironically, as the capital of the United States, Washington D.C. is home to the U.S. Congress which passed the anti-online gambling legislation UIGEA in October 2006, that was designed to prevent Americans from gambling online both domestically and abroad.

In Washington’s 2011 budget, the city included a provision to allow online gambling within its borders, and although Congress had 30 days in which to raise an objection to the proposal, no objections were raised, which means the proposal has officially been passed.

While Washington officials have not yet announced when online gambling will officially be permitted, what is known is that all online gambling in the capital will be operated by Greek-based online gambling giant Intralot, and will include ‘games of skill and chance.’

Part of the reason D.C. is prepared to offer online gambling is as a result of the millions of dollars the online activity will generate in terms of taxable online gambling revenues, which should go some way to top up the jurisdiction’s depleted government coffers.

Councilman Michael A. Brown, who authored the provision, has stated that online gambling revenues in Washington D.C. will help to offset budget cuts as well as fund social services programs, and could bring in as much as $14 million through the fiscal year 2014.

Said Brown, ‘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.’

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