District Of Columbia (Washington DC) Legal Poker Sites

Washington DC Flag (Formerly District Of Columbia)As far as poker games go, the options in Washington DC(formally the District of Columbia) are extremely limited. The good news is that the local government there has noticed that valuable revenue is leaving the district for poker rooms and casinos in West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey, and is already looking into licensing their own venues to stem this flow. Home games exist in a grey legal area here, though are tolerated by the police. The only legal games are free to enter pub leagues or charity poker tournament events.

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This page looks in depth at the different forms of poker games both live and online in the District of Columbia. First of all you’ll find information on live poker games, or more accurately when to find them close to DC. Next social poker games are covered, this includes home games, free bar leagues and charity poker nights. Online poker is discussed next, including information on offshore poker sites. Finally you’ll find information from the DC legal code which applies to poker fans, followed by a high-level summary of the main factors from this article.

District Of Columbia Live Poker Games

You will not find any poker card rooms inside the District of Columbia. The only option for fans of real money live poker games is to travel to neighboring States. Fortunately there are some gambling friendly neighbors with some great choices. West Virginia is a popular destination with 4 giant racecourse casino complexes each hosting big poker rooms. Maryland’s riverboat casinos also attract players from Washington DC, and Atlantic City in New Jersey is only a few hours drive from the Capitol. While it took a long time, it does appear that the authorities in DC have woken up to the potential revenue by stopping these gambling dollars from leaving the city – and are belatedly looking into the possibilities of opening their own casinos.

Are Home Games Legal In Washington DC?

Home games are in a grey area in DC. On one hand the law says that you can play in a home game legally (with the no profit / social relationship rules presumably a given). At the same time another part of the Statutes appears to suggest that organizing and publicizing a home game is actually illegal in the Capitol. Fortunately the law enforcement agencies seem to come down in the ‘legal’ side of the argument – or at least turn a blind eye to genuine social home games. Charity poker events do take place, though these are not particularly games of skill – more get to the river and see who won affairs. Prizes are often donated by sponsors with all the buy-in money going to the particular good cause. Free bar tournaments are also popular in DC, with no buy-ins these are not considered gambling, and the prizes supplied by the bars are usually very small.

District Of Columbia / Washington DC Online Poker Games

Online poker is considered to be illegal in Washington DC. This is under the old laws which make all games of chance illegal unless specifically carved out. There was a farcical attempt to start a State online casino a few years ago here, though this was quickly reversed. There is no reason why Washington DC should not join a future regulated State poker deal with other areas – though there are not enough people in the District to sustain a poker site of their own. Some offshore poker sites do welcome players from DC. While thousands of Americans play at these sites every day, you should be aware that doing so is strictly speaking against the law here.

What Do The DC Gambling Statutes Say?

The Washington DC gambling Statutes are a mash-up of clauses, sub-clauses and exceptions which confuse even qualified lawyers. The core definitions appear to be based around wagering, and games of chance. There are also clauses covering using gambling devices, which could be defined as just about anything from a piece of paper to a house. One quirk in the law here is that you can sue anyone you lose more than $25 to and recover the losses – though this clause is probably contradicted by several others as well. Here is an excerpt which shows you both how dated and unclear the Washington DC gambling Statutes have become: …playing any game of chance for money or property, or shall induce, entice, and permit any person to bet or play at or upon any such gaming table or gambling device, or on the side of or against the keeper thereof…

District Of Columbia Poker – Summing It Up The District of Columbia is a desert when it comes to legal real money poker, with no casinos or card rooms available without visiting neighboring States. Home games are tolerated and possibly legal depending on which part of the Statutes you read, while free bar tournaments thrive here. There is no reason why Washington DC could not join a future group of regulated internet poker friendly areas – though there seems to be a lot of work to do getting the old Statutes in order before this can happen.