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D.C. Online Gambling Delayed; Public To Have Input

Opponents of a new online casino site in Washington D.C. were pleased on Monday when the D.C. Lottery announced that it would be delaying the launch of the online casino. The delay, according to city council members, is for time to gain public input on the controversial issue.

Earlier this year the D.C. Council allowed a deadline to pass in which they could have eliminated the online gambling law. With the deadline passed, the D.C. Lottery began preparing for a launch of late July for free play and September for real money gambling online. Monday, the entire process was put on hold.

"It could be October, it could be November, it could be next year," said council member Jack Evans, in response to when the online casino will finally be launched. Other council members believed that later this year was the more probable date for the start of regulated online gambling in the city.

Michael A. Brown claimed the gambling would become a reality later this fall. Before that happens, however, there is going to be a series of public discussions on the issue, and the hope is that the council will ease the fears of those opposed to the new gaming laws.

Even those who are in favor of the expanded form of gambling will be allowed to attend the public forums to ask questions and gather information on the plan. The public areas where the online site will be accessible will have a sixty day review period before the site launches.

While many states had lawmakers spending weeks debating online gambling, D.C. quietly pushed through a law regulating the industry last December. Even if the site is delayed for several months, it will likely become the first online casino in the US that is being run with US regulations.

The city where the online site will go live is ironically the same city where the Department of Justice originated an online gambling indictment against PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, two of the largest online poker sites in the world.

Lawmakers in Washington are working towards a federal resolution to Internet gambling prohibition. Representatives Joe Barton and John Campbell, both Conservatives, have proposed two separate bills that would regulate online poker. In Barton's bill, other forms of online gambling would remain unregulated.

US online poker players represent a large portion of the population in the US, and they have made their voices heard after losing their two primary places to play online. Professional poker players have also taken a stand, with several boycotting the World series of Poker until Full Tilt pays US customers the funds that were in their accounts at the time of the government shutdown of the site.

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