Monday, September 19, 2011

Continued Response to Brown’s Letter to ANC’s Council Member Michael Brown Briefed all Council Members on Igaming Yet Declares He Is Not an Expert on Kojo Nnambi Show

In a letter dated September 16, 2011 to all Colleagues including ANC Commissioners concerning numerous media accounts and gross misstatements by a few vocal members of the public opposed to Igaming, Council Member Michael Brown stated: “I briefed my Council colleagues at the Council breakfast meeting prior to first reading, where members of the press were present.”

The first reading of the new Modernization law known as Igaming or Internet gambling was placed into the FY2011 Budget Supplement Support Act on Dec. 7, 2010. Brown offered the breakfast briefing as proof that the modernization law was properly vetted. There have been no public hearings, including no government officials presenting sworn testimony.

Brown appeared on the Kojo Nnambi show for 16 minutes on April 14, 2011 only four (4) months later and admitted six times that he was not an expert and did not know the answer to several key questions. At the breakfast meeting prior to the first reading the entire Council and according to him the media in attendance depended on his being a complete expert since there were no hearings and therefore no expert witnesses presenting testimony under oath.

The transcript is provided by WAMU Radio.

Question: “Where are the hotspots likely to be located? If I wanted to play poker from home, would I be able to?”

Brown Answer: You absolutely would be able to play from home. You could also play probably, I imagine, in hotels and certain restaurants downtown and some of the part of the core areas of the city. But yes, you will absolutely be able to play in the comfort of your own home.

Question: “What kinds of technological measures will the city be taking to make sure people outside the District won't be able to access D.C. online poker?”

Brown Answer: “Only because I'm not a technical engineer so I can't answer (laugh) in the kind of way you probably would like, but the technical -- technology does exist where you can keep it within the borders. Keep in mind, Kojo, people are playing online poker today as we speak and have been for the last couple of years. It hasn't -- it's not being regulated. We cannot get fees from it. Now, we can regulate it and we can get fees, so it's kind of a good, good story for the residents of the District of Columbia relative to increasing revenue.”

Question: “I'm thinking of people who live in Takoma Park, D.C. How do they know that their neighbors in Takoma Park, Md., aren't honing in on this?”

Brown Answer: “Excellent, excellent point. And that's where the technology will have to get tweaked 'cause it's not just Takoma Park on Eastern Avenue, it's also Western Avenue, it's -- all the big border streets, because within 500 feet or so, there could be some issues, but the technology people will work on it and I'm sure it will get fixed.”

No questions; continuing comments:

“We are watching just busloads of people every day going to West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, to play other kinds of games. We had to do something here. And we're gonna put a lot of controls. We're gonna have educational efforts. The Lottery Control Board is gonna have educational efforts about the dangers of gaming. So we're gonna do everything we can to make sure that we don't hurt anybody in this process.”

Question: “And following up on that, will those entrepreneurs be able to integrate other entrepreneurs who can set up gaming facilities in their own restaurants? And what will be the process to, like, get a license to have a computer setup in your bar, for instance, where somebody can game?”

Brown Answer: “Well, I'm not sure how exactly they'll have it set up, but they -- I don't even know if they'll start with Intralot. I think they have to start with the Lottery Control Board here in the District of Columbia. That's really the overseeing body that regulates lottery and game playing here in the District of Columbia.”

Continuing comments: On the method for entrepreneurs for getting involved and getting a license

A lot of the implementation side -- my job is the legislator. I got the law passed to make sure it was legal. On the implementation side, they should contract the Lottery Control Board. They will have all the answers to those questions for him.

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