Online Gambling Politics in Washington DC
Written the 2012-06-21 in the "Online Casinos" category.
Since the UIGEA was passed in 2006, several bizarre incidents have occurred in the area of internet gambling in the US. In December of 2010, Washington DC introduced a bill which permitted the legalization of internet gambling and the generation of revenue from it.
D.C. Lottery was responsible for the implementation of internet gambling, and they had a 50/50 revenue sharing contract with Intralot USA for managing and developing the online gambling website. In April of 2010, Buddy Roogow (D.C. Lottery's executive director), detailed the plan to implement internet gambling. A free-to-play internet gambling website would be live by 1st July. By 1st September, Washington DC residents would be allowed to play for real cash at several city "hot spots". By the close of 2011, the technology restricting internet gambling to the geographical confines of Washington DC would be set up.
In June of 2011, reports of some shady dealings that were involved in getting the bill passed started to emerge in the press. It was claimed that the internet gambling bill funded by independent councillor Michael Brown, was tucked into the supplemental budget carried out in December of 2010 without any public debate or public hearing, or any committee review. It was also claimed that Brown did not reveal that he was an employee of a legal company who had clients with a vested interest in internet gambling.
Responding to these claims, member of the Council Jack Evans arranged a hearing to talk about both of these press issues. During the meeting, the Attorney General for Washington DC, Irvin Nathan, stated that the internet gambling proposal was definitely legal. Councillor Brown stated that this bill was introduced 4 months prior to it being voted on and, thus, allegations of it being included at the last moment were false. Roogow outlined how the problems of addictive gambling and under-age gambling were being addressed. Then, it was determined that D.C. Lottery ought to hold some public hearings to allow the people and related companies an opportunity to express their opinions on the intra-state internet gambling proposal.
In August of 2011, further stories appeared in the press which adversely affected the internet gambling proposal for Washington DC. As per the requirements, Intralot had to have a local partner to be given the contract and they teamed up with the Veterans Services Corp, which Emmanuel Bailey owns. No competitive bidding process was undertaken and Bailey's name was apparently lobbied by some Washington DC Council members. Based on these reports, a bill was introduced in order to repeal the internet gambling law.
By the close of November, D.C. Lottery finished its' public consultations. It was reported by Roogow that no one opposed internet gambling. In spite of this, the Washington DC Council still went ahead with the proposal to repeal the online gambling law and, in February of 2012, this law was passed. It appears that the controversy centred around the deal with Intralot, but it was internet gambling which ended up suffering.