The Washington DC Council voted to repeal its online gambling law by a 10-2 margin earlier today. The district was set to spread the first explicitly legal online poker game in the US, but controversy surrounding the manner in which the law was passed ultimately resulted in its demise.
Even though an investigation by Inspector General Charles J. Willoughby found no illegal activity in the awarding of a $120m lottery contract that also included a provision for the district to offer online gambling, a vote last week by the Finance and Revenue Committee advanced the measure to repeal to a full committee vote.
Opponents of the law have been instrumental in the delay of its implementation. As a result, public meetings were held throughout the wards of the district to give the people of DC the opportunity to have their voices heard. The open debate continued with a a public oversight hearing in late January.
In the end, councilmember Michael A. Brown was unable to garner the support needed to hold off the law’s detractors. Consequently, the district is expected to miss out on over $13m in revenue over the next three years. According to the Washington Post, the city’s financial costs could increase if Intralot – the vendor awarded the internet gaming contract – decides to pursue legal action in an attempt to recoup the reportedly $5m it has already spent on the program.