Internet gambling legislation that was passed in 2010 in the District of Columbia ended its short run by a vote of 10-2 on Tuesday according to a report from the Washington Post. The Finance and Revenue Committee voted to send the repeal to a full vote about a week ago. This repeal ended a year-long debate concerning whether it was improperly added without the public's proper vetting of the bill.
“I want to make sure we get the best deal for the city,” said Council member Jack Evans who sponsored the repeal. “I believe it should be set up, so the city gets the best price and the best revenue.”
Three months after the city's lottery contract passed a 2009 council vote, internet gambling was added as a 'non-traditional games' option. Originally the legislation was added to the 2010 spending bill that was passed and then enmeshed in a bigger debate that came out of questions on how the council and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) managed the city's lottery contract.
Here is the most amazing part, pay close attention:
Before the vote took place, council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) actually said that some members weren't even aware of what they were voting on when internet gambling was approved in 2010. “They didn’t even use the word ‘Internet gambling,’” Wells said. ”They used word ‘I-gambling’...We voted as a city, and decided as a city, that we didn’t want slots....It has to go through a public process. This didn’t go through a public process, but it’s slots.”
Fellow Americans, these people are running our country and protecting our morals by making online poker a crime, yet they do not know what they are signing into law? Something is seriously wrong with the organization we call GOVERNMENT.
The initial law was pushed through by council member Michael A. Brown (I-At large) and Brown tried to preserve the underlying legislation that permits Internet gambling when the council voted. The contract for I-Gaming with Intralot was on Brown's scrap list to save the legislation. Brown had concerns that "casino interests' could be working to federalize Internet gambling in the District.
“This was going to be our thing, our laws, governed by us,” Brown said. “We were going to reap the benefits from tourist, from residents.”
Intralot, the city's lottery contractor spent in excess of $5 million to prepare an iGaming system while city taxpayers haven't contributed anything to developing the program. There is a possibility Intralot could sue to recoup costs.
The only member to vote with Brown was Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8). Barry ridiculed those who suggested when Internet gambling was approved by the council, they didn't know what it was.
“What kind of legislature are you?” Barry asked. “You giving the public the impression, you didn't know what you voted for. This council already has a low approval rating... and you are telling me, you didn’t know you voted on something?”
Some of the council member wanted to start the debate from scratch and then decide if the city should legalize Internet gambling.