The new Internet gambling law approved by the District Council, a law adopted without public hearing, committee review or real public notice, will give the D.C. Lottery enormous ability to expand its predatory gambling practices.
This law gives D.C. Lottery the power to determine the types of games it wants to deliver to the public. This is why it is putting in slots and bingo, along with poker.
Remember, the argument proponents raise in support of Internet gambling is that the District loses gambling tax revenue to offshore venues. Proponents of gambling in D.C. describe the typical offshore gambler as a poker player with middle to above incomes. By offering poker, supporters of the law said D.C. will recover lost tax revenue and extend consumer protections to people now betting offshore.
So what happens next?
D.C. Lottery officials outlined a plan intended to draw in a broader demographic by offering bingo and slot-type games. They want new types of gamblers to play their games, people who have never played offshore games, people who probably don't even know they exist.
D.C. Lottery wants to expand Internet-based gambling to fixed income seniors and lower income populations by offering bingo and slots and who knows what other magical online games. D.C.'s large college-age population will be a target as well.
In the new Internet gambling law, D.C. Lottery also has the power to determine where neighborhood mini-casinos are located and how many of them can be established. The law, itself, sets no limits, no safeguards, no oversight. The regulator is the D.C. Lottery.
When it comes to consumer protection for neighborhoods, there is none.
In Las Vegas they have separate areas where people can play "high limit slots." Typically, those machines are at least $5 and above. The higher the bet, the higher the payoff. But that brings a higher margin to the casino, and that's what D.C. Lottery is interested in.
The Council's new Internet gambling law puts D.C. Lottery on the path to becoming a corporate sociopath.
District Council members have been willing enablers of this mess, approving a law under the public radar and then giving lottery officials the ability to do just about whatever they want.