D.C. Lottery considering offering online poker and sports betting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The D.C. Lottery could soon offer online poker and sports betting as part of its web based offering.

Councilman Michael A. Brown has included a proposal to make the online gambling happen as part of a bill to help close a $188 million budget gap.

Brown says the expanded lottery game program will raise about $13 million over the next three years. The bill is scheduled for a final vote later this month.

The games would all be regulated to make sure that no minors were able to access the online gambling on offer. The plan is designed to help the city tap into residents who already pay for online gambling and those who regularly leave the city to drop coins into nearby slot machines, he said.

The proposal comes as D.C. Lottery revenue has declined by 10 percent in the last five years, a total of $7 million in losses annually.

The options for nearby casino gambling have exploded. Maryland now has slot machines a short bus ride from the District.

In October, the first full month it was open, the Hollywood Casino in Perryville saw $11.4 million in sales, while new tables at Charles Town’s Hollywood Casino in West Virginia raked in $9.75 million in August, its first full month of operations.

The new D.C. lotto games wouldn’t “change what [people are] doing, but it does give us the opportunity to offer some options,” Brown said. “Because of shortfalls across the country, many jurisdictions are looking to do something similar. We’re looking for other sources of revenue.”

source: Washington Examiner

Published: December 8, 2010

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