First, you must know this about me: I worked for the DC Lottery (and others) for more than 10 years.
I was not an executive.
My job was to talk to winners and then write about them. Nothing more.
So I learned with interest about DC Lottery’s plan to launch gambling over the Internet through “demonstration games” that will allow players to get their feet wet before wagering real dollars.
DC Lottery will roll out six games – including blackjack, Texas hold ‘em and bingo – thus becoming the first jurisdiction in the country to offer regulated gambling on home computers and public terminals known as “platinum sponsors,” according to rules published in the D.C. Register.
Players must be 19 or older and log on from within the District’s boundaries, say the rules. They cannot create more than one online account or let another person use theirs.
A bill introduced by Rep. Barney Frank a Democrat, and John Campbell, Republican, in March would legalize and regulate Internet gambling, yet it does not apply to state and tribal lotteries.
The District’s gambling law would need to clear multiple federal legal hurdles before online gambling could start.
Despite questions over its legality and the uncertainty over how or whether members of Congress may intervene, the rules published on Friday appeared to signal the first movement on actual games in the District.
And that’s pretty awesome.
The demo games are expected to go live in four to six weeks ahead of pay games this fall. They will be free, employing a point system in lieu of wagers, and designed to let players get accustomed to the games while officials iron out any bugs in the system.
From the start, the argument has been made that online gambling will bring millions of dollars in revenue to the District by harnessing a hobby that is unregulated yet goes on anyway with no realized benefit to the city.
So, of course, it comes down to money for the city.
And I have no problems with that.
Just let me play.
I’ve gotta call my contacts in DC and find out more.