When DC first announced the concept of the legalization of online gambling, I had hoped what it might mean was access once again to the main online poker rooms in a manner that was clearly above board. It does not appear that will happen, at least not in the first year of its operation. Instead, what the city will get is a series of “hot spots” for online gambling provided by Greek company Intralot. Intralot will be offering online poker, but only near the specific hot spots for the first year or so, with the rake for each hand split by Intralot and the District 50/50.
Intralot has targeted July 1st for a free no-stakes gambling site, and then the launch of actual gambling around the 1st of September, unless Congress decides to re-intervene, despite letting the 30-day period for comment on the law pass. The CFO’s office has released projections that the gambling could raise $13M for the city coffers between FY 2012 and FY 2014, which would be used to offset social services cuts.
The locations for the initial hot spots have yet to be chosen. If they prove successful, and if the technology is deemed functional to ensure only those in DC are playing, home gambling over the actual Internet could start next year.