12/23/2011 : Lottery director reports on public reactions at various consultative briefings
The director of the Washington DC Lottery, Buddy Roogow, says that most of the city residents who spoke at the lottery's nine consultative briefings around the city recently voiced support for the introduction of carefully regulated online gambling.
Roogow makes the claim in his report on the information initiative, designed to sample the reactions of residents following the passage earlier this year of a city law empowering the lottery to operate limited online gambling activity within the city boundaries.
Releasing his report Thursday, Roogow said that 68 percent of the 155 people who spoke at the meetings supported the internet gambling program, known as iGaming, compared to 22 percent who opposed it and 10 percent who took a neutral stance.
Dominant talking points among those in favour of iGaming included the desire that revenue from gaming could go toward social programs and that play would be adequately regulated. Some of them said the weekly betting limit of $250 is a sufficient safeguard against losses, while some said it was too low.
Opponents mostly called for a repeal of the program because they were dissatisfied with the manner in which it passed through the Legislature attached to a supplementary budget bill a year ago. Other objections included fears that the venture was too risky; that it places senior citizens at risk; that government and gambling should not mix, and that the 50 percent-split of profit between the lottery system and its vendor was unacceptable.
Ward 4 was the only ward in which opponents of the iGaming outnumbered its supporters, at nine to eight, among public commenters.
The controversial bill, which effectively made Washington DC the first in the US to legalise online gambling, will again come under the microscope on January 26 when one of its main political opponents, councillor Jack Evans, will chair a committee hearing to determine whether the measure should be repealed despite the support of residents. Roogow's report will be delivered at that hearing.
The lottery plans to initially offer four games, with pre-approved players registered ahead of time and authorised to play on their home computers or in pre-arranged public areas equipped with a WiFi.