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Congress has final approval over D.C. laws and in the past has attempted to influence social policy by placing “riders” on city budget bills that prohibit spending on programs unpopular with federal lawmakers. The most recent budget bill cleared a House committee Thursday without any such riders prohibiting online gambling.

A pending House bill would legalize Internet gambling, but it exempts state and tribal lotteries from its purview.

Legislators, including Mr. Brown for the District, argue that the legalization of online gambling is a win-win that can generate millions in public revenue while regulating a hobby that goes unchecked on the Internet.