Friday Question of the Day – Are “online gambling ‘hot spots’ in hotels, bars, clubs and other venues across the city” a Good Idea? (reader request)

Photo by PoPville flickr user yostinator

The Washington Post reports:

D.C. officials said they are planning to set up 20 to 30 online gambling “hot spots” in hotels, bars, clubs and other venues across the city by around Sept. 1, marking a major step in a bid to turn the nation’s capital into a haven for Texas hold ’em and other potentially lucrative Internet-based games.

We talked about online gambling in general back in Dec. ’10 but this sounds like a pretty different beast to me (even it is only an interim step). So the Friday Question of the Day is another simple one – do you think setting up these “hot spots” in hotels, bars and other spots around town is a good idea?

Should DC just host straight up casinos (if Congress would let us)?

54 Comment

  • DC should have a few very posh casinos and some MMA fights.

    By the way, anyone know what is going on at the old convention center space (9th & H); seems heavy construction has begun.

    • That’s the CityCenter project. Kind of surprised you haven’t heard of it. It’s been in the works for many years and is a massive mixed-use development.

  • I don’t understand how these are going to work. It seems as if it will be online gambling only but they will be set up in bars and hotels. So will they be like video poker machines? Or video kiosks where you’re technically playing poker online? Against other people or computers?

    Can anyone straighten this out for me?

    • It’s just a wifi hotspot in certain hotels/bars. you have to bring your own laptop, but those specific hotspots will let you play online poker.

      And btw, that is just the first phase, eventually, they will let you play online poker from any computer as long as that computer is physically located within DC. They are just testing the technology to ensure that only computers in DC will be allowed into the site.

  • I have nothing philosophically against this but can you imagine walking into a “posh” hotel and seeing a lobby lounge full of dweebs in backwards ballcaps hunched over their laptops playing poker on line?

    Yeah, that screams class.

  • This must be Kwame Brown’s idea……

    Very unimaginative way of generating revenue!

    • No, it’s the other Brown, Michael A.

      He’s not much better. I’m against it in principle because, as illustrated above, I think it cheapens what should and could be a world-class city.

      But being hamstringed by the Congress and the federal government leaves few options for much-needed revenue.

      • Yeah, I think DC is aspiring more toward West Virginia status than world-class status with this move toward casinos and gambling. It’s a race to the bottom.

        • @DCster

          I rarely get worked up about comments on a blog but your mention of WV has me just that, worked up.

          Are you from WV? I doubt it and your comment regarding WV’s level of class is idiotic.

          The only real way I find myself able to reply is with a phrase that I learned while growing up in the wonderful hills of WV, ‘Fuck you, you ignorant piece of shit!’

          A proud son of the great state of West Virginia.

          Oh, read up if you get a chance:

          That is all.

          • you’re overly reacting and being sentimental. West Virginia has not put itself in a place that DC should emulate.

          • Wow…somebody is sensitive. Must not have gotten any from your sibling last night…ZING!!!!

          • I see the motto on the billboard now:

            West Virginia: “Fuck you, you ignorant piece of shit!”

          • @ Anonymous
            What should WV want to emulate about DC? Shitty customer service and violent crime? Unfortunately I would that racism is more prevalent in WV than DC… oh but wait, the commenters on this blog and many others proves that racism is alive and well here in the super classy DMV.

            @ Anon
            Incest…are you kidding me? People say West Virginians are uneducated? Take a look and see where incest is illegal and where it is not.

            @ photodork
            If I could make it the state motto I certainly would. We are all thinking it anyway.

            People in this area like to go on and on about how it is the most educated area in the US. While there may be more people with higher educations in the area than any other in the country, it seems that diplomas do little to erase ignorance.

          • anon 11:21,
            no one said that west virginia should emulate dc. i don’t think they should.

          • “If I could make it the state motto I certainly would. We are all thinking it anyway.”

            This certainly gives credibility to the intelligence argument.

          • @ photodork

            Where was an intelligence argument made? Comments were made about ignorance. Intelligence, not so much.

          • @anon. I am not from West Virginia, and did not mean to generalize that West Virginia as a whole is not classy – my apologies. I have actually been to WV many times and, from what I’ve seen, think it’s a very beautiful state (and your linked story was informative too).
            What I meant to express could’ve (and should’ve) referred to any state that has gambling, including my state of birth.
            Gambling can be addictive and IMO is a sub-optimal use of people’s resources. I don’t see why any place concerned about the interests of its residents would encourage its adoption.

          • “Intelligence, not so much.”

          • Seriously, you really are too sensitive and you apparently aren’t hindered by a sense of humor. I was joking.

  • Please not video poker machines. It would look totally trashy.

  • Who benefits from setting up those “steal your money” spots?

    • Way to take personal responsibility out of the equation.

      A fool and his/her money were lucky enough to get together in the first place.

      • Perhaps. But then you’re going to redistribute our income to financially support said fool! You should have to demonstrate that neither you nor your family receives public assistance prior to playing.

        • Now that I can get behind. Welfare cash should in no way be used, but I’m not confident that it already isn’t being put towards our current idiot tax…er, the lottery.

  • I think we should have large-scale casinos. I’d say the new Southwest Waterfront site would be a perfect place for it. Or maybe the Federal Ghetto, since there’s no other activity there (L’Enfant Plaza)

  • Montana has little casinos in nearly every strip mall. They’re really kind of sad to encounter and depressing to enter. I agree that it’d be far better to do what Detroit did and build one or a few really nice destination casinos that tie into the city infrastructure (meaning not out in some NE industrial district far from transit). Tourists could spend more of their money here once they’ve had their fill of free Americana. It’d fit with DC’s emergence into a vibrant nightlife city and perhaps tie the tourists into it better. I just worry someone would propose a tacky Abe Lincoln-themed casino like those awful tourist shops downtown.

  • DC Officials sure are making DC a classey city. We’re really becoming like NY…upstate NY that is.

  • Love the picture of the VIP room. Wish it would get renovated

  • I personally like to gamble once in a while, but pretty much anywhere the gambling goes, so goes the trash. Awful idea. Terrible idea. Terribly awful idea. Raise my real estate taxes before you stick that kind of tacky, slime magnet in the city.

    • Good idea…we’ll only raise YOUR real estate taxes.

      • seriously. screw raising real estate taxes. mine are plenty high. instead, people who pay dc income tax should not have property tax at all on their primary residence.

        • nothing personally against you, but i actually find DC real estate taxes – .85% – to be pretty low compared to almost everywhere else i’ve ever lived.

          now, a house might be worth a million dollars and that might suck, but i don’t think that’s the government’s fault (i also find the assessments pretty reasonable).

          • It is actually reasonable, but I still don’t want mine raised…especially given that sales and income tax more than make up for the real estate tax levels.

            I’d much rather have the gamblers willingly pay.

            And yes, it does bring about that sort of seedy element, but isn’t it more of a redistribution of that seedy element? Tourists are already here. Degenerates are already here. And how often are we residents really hanging out in hotel lobbies?

  • How about a casino where only Maryland and Virginia residents can gamble and all the profits go to the city.

  • How about a parking garage tax. It’ll raise funds, encourage carpooling and public transit all while not creating the blight and other problems associated with gambling. Also it’d save a lot of wasted time and money as Congress is not likely to approve this.

    • THe parking lobby is huge in DC. Seriously. THe lot operators have a lot of sway, so raising the parking tax is very unlikely.

    • There already is a parking garage tax. Also, part of Gray’s budget plan is to raise this tax.

  • I don’t think most people really get what this is about. The idea is to simply allow people to play online poker at a site where DC will get 50% of the revenue, all while avoiding some of the seediness that casinos can bring.

    The first stage is to allow online poker only using specific hotspots in certain locations like hotels and bars. But eventually, it will just allow someone in their own home, with their own computer, to play poker. People are already doing this, btw, but the sites are run by offshore companies where no taxes or revenue-sharing can take place. I think this is a fantastic idea.

    Too bad the religious zealots who think they own this city even though they don’t live here will probably strike it down because gambling is a sin and they believe the government should legislate morality.

  • no.

    good for wasting money.

    good for uneducated people to lose money.

    good for creating a depressing atmosphere.

  • So, from a technical standpoint, would they detect your IP and figure out you are in DC, or would you have to go through a portal? I mean, the fact is that noone is going to jail now for playing online poker, so why would someone use this?

  • Petvet’s explanation clears up some confusion. There wouldn’t be any physical manifestation of gambling in the city, but online gaming operations could be DC-based and thus pay taxes to DC.

    Sounds okay to me as long as it doesn’t lead to something like the OTB parlors seen in NYC:

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