Many states have had false starts for many years regarding legalizing online poker, including Florida, Hawaii, and New Jersey to name a few. Perhaps because of all the red ink and many government bank accounts being empty, D.C. has been given the green light in the 2011 budget to allow online poker to their 600k residents.
Interestingly, the word “poker” is not mentioned in the bill. However, it allows “both games of skill and games of chance,” and to offer games on the Internet. It’s obvious that this would include online poker. The game would most likely be provided by Intralot Interactive, which has an existing relationship with the D.C. Lottery.
Officials expect that the online poker site will not be ready until the end of 2011 and proceeds to not come until 2012. Things move slowly in government.
It’s not clear if Intralot will have the experience needed to create a good online poker environment but that may become mute if this causes a domino effect and forces states to legalize online poker.
It will still take years for things to move forward but this is definitely the first step to legalizing online poker in the United States.