The issue of legalizing online poker in the US has been the source of several long standing debates. Several states in the US have been trying to legalize it in the hopes of generating bigger revenue. Washington D.C. recently became the first US State to pass a law allowing people to wager on online poker. This law was passed on the 7th of April 2011 without any objection from Congress. The bill has been titled the Lottery Modernization Act of 2010 and has made Columbia in Washington D.C the first US district and State to incorporate an online gaming law that allows internet gambling.
The Lottery Modernization Act of 2010 passed with a few amendments that include a change in the definition of the term ‘lotteries.’ The bill stipulates that it only includes games of chance as well as the skill-based game of poker. This will allow Intralot, a lottery provider in Washington D.C. to offer poker over the web to players within the district. The bill also allows the operation of a fantasy sports site for players.
This law has been much debated and has gained considerable attention and importance over the years and it has been long awaited to see which state would implement a law permitting internet gambling first. Now that Washington D.C. has done it, it is expected that others will follow.
However, it will take some time for the poker sites to be up and functional within the district. Regulations outlining the exact terms of play have to be stated by the Washington D.C. municipal government and these terms should ensure that the games comply with the federal law. Also, new regulations with regards to online gaming have to be drafted and passed through a public comment period.
When the potential benefit of offering online gaming was realized, this step to introduce online gaming was taken up. Even for the small Washington D.C. market it is expected that the intra-district internet poker sector will be able to generate $13 million for the district initially. This was predicted by council member, Michael Brown, who had proposed the bill.
While the bill is not exactly what the American players were hoping for, it looks as if it is headed in the right direction. Other jurisdictions would do well to test and see how much intrastate online revenue can be generated and what this would mean for the district. Passing this bill is a significant note to subtly state that the Congress is now not strictly opposing iGaming and is softening up to the idea.

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