Saturday, October 15, 2011 : Ward 5 residents appear to have little quarrel with online gambling…but they do not like the way the law was passed
In compliance with the directions of the city fathers, the Washington DC Lottery carried out the first of eight community briefings on the District's new online gambling law this week.
The Washington Times reported that the Ward 5 residents present didn't have a problem with online gambling per se, but were displeased by what they saw as the underhand manner in which independent councillor Michael A. Brown had driven it through the legislature, attached to a budget measure and without adequate public consultation.
But as Brown pointed out, the fact is… the bill is now law.
Some residents also had reservations about the proceedings of the gambling initiative going straight into the city's general fund instead of being dedicated to specific needs in the District such as education.
D.C. Lottery executive director Buddy Roogow started the 90-minute meeting with a slideshow presentation, outlining:
• The games, targeted at “recreational and social gamblers,” will be accessible from inside the District of Columbia only.
• Four games are targeted for the initial rollout: Blackjack, Bingo, an electronic version of traditional lottery scratch cards and the “critically important” Texas hold ‘em poker.
• Players will have to register an actual bank account from which they’ll be able to deduct a maximum of $250 a week from their accounts, with individual player losses capped annually at $13,000.
• Businesses can offer connections to the i-gaming server, but players will have to use their own computers to play.
• The i-gaming site will not be accessible over mobile networks.
• “Substantial software” is being developed to ensure that users are located within the District, complying with federal law requiring the city to establish a “reasonably designed” system to prevent outsiders from playing.
• The Lottery will offer help for problem gamblers.