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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rolling of the dice

With a deal to bring Major League Baseball to Washington apparently cratering last week, a civic-minded and no doubt extremely respectable Internet gambling company has stepped forward to try to save the day. Empire Poker, which describes itself as "North America's leading online poker site," said late last week that it would provide up to $500 million to prevent the would-be Washington Nationals from becoming the Lame Ducks. The company would finance the team's move from Montreal to a new District stadium.

All the company wants in return is naming rights to the team's new field. And the exclusive right to all the signs inside the stadium. And, um, one other little thing: It wants to put Internet kiosks throughout the stadium so fans can play electronic poker before, during and after the game.

So, Washington would get baseball and hot dogs and box seats . . . and Texas Hold 'Em?