Online Gambling:Washington DC Says No
In the United States internet gambling bills that were passed by state legislatures seem to be ill-fated. To kick off, New Jersey governor Chris Christie turned it down.
The second bill that might follow suit is Washington DC’s online gambling bill. When the bill was first issued many celebrated in the hope that it would be implemented before 2011 is out.
Interestingly an editorial article in the Washington Post this week touched upon the dealings and wheeling’s behind the scenes that were responsible in the bill’s passing.
The adjustment to permit the D.C. Lottery to offer gambling in Washington DC is a watered down version. Independent councillor Michael A. Brown was the driving force behind this initiative.
The authenticity of it has been questioned by both the chief financial officer and the attorney general. To compound matters further, mayor Adrian M. Fenty was not approached. In spite of this, the public’s opinion or a committee review was held to discuss the implications of this bill. No one explanation was given by officials who championed the bill. Basically they sidestep the “normal process of enacting legislation”.
The Washington Post also mentions that when Brown drafted the amendment he failed to mention that he was employed as a senior public policy adviser in the government relations department by legal firm Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge (EAPD). His annual salary paid by the firm in 2010 was more than $240,000.
EAPD’s clients are companies that provide gaming equipment, software and other services; owners of casinos and brokers who invest in operators. GTech was specifically mentioned by the Washington Post, its subsidiary is GTechG2 it provides software to online casinos. As matters currently stand, all these businesses could benefit from it if it is legalized in Washington DC and in other states.
In San Francisco EAPD sponsored a recent conference that featured a session on internet gambling. Coincidentally the speaker at this session was none other than Mr. Michael A. Brown; he discussed how the politicians view internet gambling its regulation and taxation.
In the meantime EAPD notified the Washington Post that it maintains a stern boundary between their employees’ work for the firm and their employees’ non-work related doings. EAPD said they were not ignorant to the fact that Brown pushed to sponsor the legalization of internet gaming in the District in 2010. Brown is not employed by EAPD any more and now works for the Madison Group which is a lobbying and consulting firm. He now lobbies on behalf of clients in Congress and the White House. Brown claims that there was no conflict of interest, since EAPD was represented by no company nor are they interested in doing business in Washington DC.
Only time will tell what the ramifications of these disclosures will have on Washington DC’s internet gambling act. To be honest, instead of removing all the barriers that faces internet gambling and its regulation in the District it will only create more.[addtoany]