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Washington DC Council Plans Hearing Two Months after Gambling Bill’s Passing

29 June 2011 by admin

There has been a lot in the news as to whether or not the bill that will give Washington DC online gambling will succeed. While there is no doubt that residents want this popular pastime to be legalized, there are questions that have been brought up about the legality of the bill’s passing.

The bill for online gambling on an intranet system that would only operate within DC city limits was slipped into the budget back in December, when the budget was passed. At that point, Congress had a limited time frame to review and approve the budget, including the bill. Unfortunately Congress was in a heated argument over the country’s budget and not looking at what was happening in DC. The time limit ran out and the bill for online gambling inside of DC passed. Once its passing hit the news, questions started popping up.

Among the questions was whether or not the bill’s inclusion was legal or not. Council member Michael A. Brown was the one to slip the bill into the budget. But now the question is being raised about whether his actions were on the level or not. With so many questions about the bill and the lack of public vetting before it passed a hearing has been called for. DC Council finance committee chairman Jack Evans has said, “We did not even know it was in there. This was requested to be put into a supplemental budget back in December, without any hearing, without any notice, without any anything.”

The DC Council’s finance committee will meet today for a hearing that will cover not only Brown’s actions in slipping in the bill, but what implications an intrastate gambling system could have both positively and negatively for the city. It is possible that the bill could be repealed, but hopes are high that it will not be and that the revenue generated will keep the bill in the law.

After all, regulated online gambling is wanted in the city. The DC Lottery is still moving forward to implement the gambling bill and set up and intrastate gambling system. It still plans to launch two games in late July with four more to follow on August 20th; playing for real money is expected to begin in September. This is a sure sign that DC wants online gambling in their city. The DC Lottery definitely does not seem overly concerned with the hearing. I suppose to them the bill is law now and the only step is forward.

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