Washington End Online Gambling Program

Washington End Online Gambling Program

Staff Writer
February 16, 2012

In a turnabout of opinion, the Council of the District of Columbia (DC) in Washington decided to repeal the iGaming program in the previous week over criticism that the program came about as the result of insufficient public comment or scrutiny. This decision was seen as somewhat controversial due to the fact that only last year the program was instead by the very same council and on track to become the first internet gambling program in the United States and had promised increased revenue for the district. Games such as Texas Hold’em poker, blackjack and bingo were on offer through the iGaming program.

“If you’ve been around long enough, you look at some things and they just smell,” said Ann Loikow. “There’s just enough stuff that’s not right, and this is that case — on steroids.” The retired federal attorney and civic activist is one of the few who doesn’t see this change as a benefit but rather a stir of political grudges and pay-to-play business dealings. The seemingly evident dent on the promise of a future for gambling in the district has added further stress upon the city government already embroiled in multiple federal investigations.

The recent Department of Justice (DoJ) ruling that allowed the introduction of online gambling initiatives has become the precursor to both positive and negative impacts on the country. There is still much precedence to take place in an effort to effectively legalise and regulate online gambling in the country and it seems that not everyone is particularly welcoming of the scheme.

The iGaming program came to fruition in 2010 as an amendment added to a budget bill, influenced by the Councils held power to operate the city’s overall lottery the previous year. This approval resulted in the council gaining power to allow new types of gambling, including internet gambling.

Michael A. Brown, the Council’s chief iGaming supporter, stated after the vote to repeal the program that he believed that there was “nothing wrong with the process.” He also continued to say that the indecision would result in a public airing, after it became law. This would result in a loss of tens of millions in potential revenue to the city, with the city modestly estimating $13million over four years. Mr Brown continued to state that “All the Council rules were followed, nothing was done incorrectly or improperly. That’s just an excuse, and that’s just a copout”. He suggested that the deep-pocketed gambling interests and intervention from those who saw the program as unsavoury were the likely culprits forcing the death of the program.

There is now uncertainty of events that will progress as a result of this decision, with many predicting unrest and yet more legal precedence taking place as a result. A lawsuit is currently pending against council members by Eric W. Payne, a former official who is seeking whistle-blower status and millions of dollars in damages against their alleged meddling.

[Source: The New York Times]




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