Online gambling in D.C.?

(Photo courtesy quasireversibl via Flickr)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The District of Columbia still could become the first jurisdiction in the nation to offer government-sponsored online gambling within its borders.

But the D.C. Council is bitterly divided on how, or even if, the program should be implemented. A ruling last month by the Justice Department opened the door for state lottery agencies to launch online gambling programs.

Several states are expressing interest, but only Nevada and the district have approved laws or regulations authorizing online gambling.

Officials in Nevada have said they hope to begin offering online poker by the end of the year.

Councilmember Jack Evans, who wields considerable influence over whether online gambling goes forward, says he's not concerned about whether the district is first. Other councilmembers want to repeal the law for a variety of reasons.