All eyes are on Washington, D.C., this summer, and it’s not for some showdown between the Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. Rather, states and localities are closely watching as the city rolls out the nation’s first online intrastate casino.
Slipped into a budget bill that became law this spring, the Web-based casino is an effort to generate new revenue. Overseen by D.C. Lottery’s Executive Director Buddy Roogow, the District’s online gambling will debut with the launch of free games. Betting will likely begin this fall.* The casino is expected to bring in $13 million over the course of three years.
An experienced hand, Roogow has a rich history with lotteries -- he was the director of Maryland’s lottery for 13 years, 12 straight years of which experienced growth.
Roogow realizes state and local officials are taking a keen interest. At least six other states have considered legalizing online gambling this past year. “If we’re going to be first, there’s going to be a lot of people watching us,” Roogow says. “We have to do every aspect of this right.”
*UPDATE, July 29: Implementation of free online games, originally slated for a summer launch, had been delayed to October 2011. More information about D.C. Lottery's online initiatives can be found here.