eGaming:Washington Cold Shoulder Regulation

Gloomy News From  Washington
Democrat chairman of the Committee on Finance discuss US gaming regulation

Democrat chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, Jack Evans requested another hearing that pertains to intrastate internet gambling in Washington DC.

This time round two issues related to egaming have muddled the water. The first is the online gambling legislation and the second is the D.C. Lottery contract. The hearing would be held at the behest of three Washington DC councillors aiming to re-investigate both issues.

The press reported that the Washington D.C. Inspector General, Charles J. Willoughby, did not act upon a request from two ex- Cabinet officials to scrutinize irregularities in the lottery contract and the oversight activities of Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi. Evans argued that it was the Inspector General’s responsibility to have carried out the investigation, since he failed to do so some councillors are concerned about the integrity of the deal. Hence another hearing must be held when the council reconvenes in September.

Muriel Bowser a council member is a staunch supporter of Evans, a Democrat chairing the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment. Bowser’s committee has oversight of the Office of the Inspector General; she also serves on Evans’ finance committee. She articulated her concerns that numerous councillors, including herself were not at ease with the DC Lottery contract. Further exacerbated by the fact that the Inspector General failed to act and it is justifiable to ask why he has not done so.

Citizens are concerned that there are many flaws within the District’s systems of checks and balances. It’s important that the public has confidence in those responsible for enforcing regulations, rules and ethics. Bowser also criticized the internet gambling bill. She said, “It was not a smart move to pass it in a supplemental budget bill without the public’s approval. It definitely was a sleight of hand.”

The Washington Times reported that Intralot a Greek firm received the lottery contract. Intralot teamed up with a local businessman so that the contract could be legal. However, it turns out that this businessman never participated in the competitive bidding process and he owns 51% in the $38 million lottery contract.

The gambling bill was pushed by a councillor who was in the employment of a legal firm that has clients who will receive kickbacks should the law be implemented. Presently the law has been placed in the back burner following demands that a public consultative process must be held first. This process might still take a while before it runs full circle. In the meantime, another Democrat, Councillor Tommy Wells pledged to initiate legislation that would rescind the legalization bill.



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