Friday Question of the Day – Should Online Gambling be Legal in DC?

Photo by flickr user Orin Zebest

The Washington Times reports:

The D.C. Council on Tuesday, with little discussion and no public notice, voted 11-2 in favor of a budget amendment that would legalize online poker and fantasy sports gambling through the D.C. Lottery as a means of helping plug a $200 million budget gap.

But on Wednesday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversees the District, said he is “absolutely, totally opposed” to the idea — and because of the District’s status as a federal enclave, Congress has final approval over its laws.

Now I’ve already admitted that I’ve taken a few knocks to the head in my day and before we knew sniffing glue was bad for you… but honestly I just don’t understand this. Can’t you play online poker anywhere already?

But assuming there is something I’m missing here – what do you think about the idea of legalizing and promoting online gambling in DC?

24 Comment

  • What about real casinos?

    I mean so many people go to Charleston, W.Va and Atlantic to gamble. Why not legalize gambling in this district? Put some casinos on New York ave thats the perfect place for it. Lots of hotels/motels, nightclubs, no residential, access to highways, etc.

    We need to invest big, if D.C. gets casinos do you have any idea how much revenue that would bring into the city and the increase in tourism and visitors? D.C. would boom hard, harder than any other city on the east coast if that happens.

    • Obviously you haven’t spent time living in gambling cities. When casinos move in, they spread like a disease. While do create jobs, they take people’s money. In cities like Reno and Atlantic City, everyone knows someone who works for a casino and someone who’s addicted to gambling. Gambling addictions ruin people’s lives. Keeping gambling out of cities is an easy way to prevent all of the problems they create. It’s harder to gamble away your paycheck when you have to drive two hours to do it.

      • There are all kinds of bad things in the city including temptations for addicts.

        Fortunately, not all of us have an issue controlling it.

        Some people gamble because it is fun.

  • Juvenile homicide is practically legal and the norm here. Being a gentry everyday is a gamble. What’s your point? Oh right, DYRS is totally not working.

  • Of course it should be legal. Making things like this illegal just criminalizes things people are going to do anyway, whether in Vegas or overseas. Legalize pot while we’re at it.

  • If this would include putting gambling machines at these newshops downtown, The Dorf stands firmly against it. These places are full of the least intelligent among us who pay a poor person’s tax to the city based on their ignorance. There are much better ways of raising money to pay for things than legalizing these machines, only it’d take actual political compromise

    If it’s just so I can play online at home, then I don’t see what the big deal is. But poker machines are a scourge.

    I’m the father of internal bushings, by the way.

  • This gets floated before the Council every year for as long as I can remember. The plans in the early ’90s were for an “electronic gaming center” (i.e., casino) off NY Avenue in NE. The churchies came in and shot it down. The other reason it failed was because the City was making something like a measly 10% of the take, with the rest going to a Cayman Islands offshore holding company. I’m in favor of gambling if the city get’s a better deal. Also, anything that pi$$es off suburban churchies is okay in my book.

  • Gambling and lotteries amount to a voluntary tax on poor people, and while the “voluntary” aspect can’t be ignored, I think there are better ways to come up w/ funds than a publicly endorsed vice. How about increasing the gas tax?

  • This is likely part of the current action by Harry Reid to try to get online poker legalized as a rider to the current tax cut bill being discussed. States that opt in by allowing online poker in their state get a piece of the 20% tax on the online sites under the current draft.

  • Exploiting addictions is not the way to close a budget gap.

  • While we’re legalizing online gambling, can’t we also agree to host the nuclear waste respository Nevada didn’t want in exchange for some Federal money, and maybe legalize the (taxable) sale of meth, marijuana, crack. I mean, we really need the money, right?

  • POP, to answer your question about playing online anywhere, the answer in the United States is decidedly NO. Look up the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. There’s been work to undo this law but it has not yet materialized into legislation.

    • That was my first thought. With 20-something replies when I first logged on I thought someone else would have addressed this law. What really shuold be diiscussed here is that the DC council voted on a budget measure that is already illegal under Federal law.

  • “Exploiting addictions is not the way to close a budget gap.”

    Ten years ago, I would’ve agreed, and said, “No way!” And maybe it’s that the worst elements of the GOP are poised to make a roaring comeback just two years after tossing the country into the shitter. But I’m tired of giving a shit whether the fucktards who make up the majority in this country want to shoot themselves in the head anymore.

    Bon appetite! You gotta play to win!

  • I don’t think legalizing it would increase the actual amount of online gambling. Currently, you can gamble online “illegally,” no real risk of getting caught, and you don’t report the revenue or pay taxes on it. Legalizing it means the district can collect the tax revenue.

  • PaschTag

    Of course, don’t be silly. If anything should be illegal it should be the lottery. Biggest scam ever. At least a person can actually become a skilled player at poker or black jack and win. Grow up people and let people be grown ups and decide how they wanna use their money.

  • If they legalize internet gambling in DC i’ll move back.

  • Online poker is legal for people to play already. The exception is Washington state (and possibly Kentucky.)

    What is illegal is for banks to process payments for online poker and for online poker sites to provide the games. But as a player, you’re fine.

    I don’t know about sport betting, etc. Rules are more stringent on that.

    Also, if DC passes this law it wouldn’t do anything as payment processing would still be illegal under federal law. Unless they started their own little DC-only poker site?

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