1/27/2012 : Key figures in investigation not called to testify
The contentious D.C. Lottery bid was in the spotlight at a hearing held yesterday (Thursday) before the D.C. Council's Finance and Revenue Committee that observers hail as "a bit of a non-event".
The public hearing was held to discuss iGaming in the district and Bill 19-474, the “Lottery Amendment Repeal Act of 2011”.
Inspector General Charles Willoughby, who has come under fire for his findings in a report commissioned by Committee Chairman and Ward 2 Democrat Rep. Jack Evans on the circumstances surrounding the award of the bid to Intralot, testified before the committee.
Willoughby stood by his report testifying that the lottery contract should have been rebid, or at least the internet gambling portion of it, as the council could not have known the channel would be on the cards at the time it awarded the bid in 2009.
He further testified that city officials "materially changed" the contract after the fact with the additon of an internet gambling programme.
The council “should see the entire contract, it should see the finished project,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a piecemeal operation, and I stand by that,” testified Willoughby.
Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, the official behind the award, has strongly objected to the findings saying bidders had the opportunity to cover "additional or non-traditional games" which in his mind included internet gambling although it wasn't explicitly spelled out.
The hearing was convened amid criticism by industry observers who noted that direct testimony did not include formed Veteran Service Corp (VSC) , the company that holds a 51 percent share in the venture that runs the lottery, nor Intralot, the Greek company awarded the bid.