Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ward One Internet gambling meeting Nov. 1

Here's a note posted about it on the Adams Morgan list: 

D.C. Lottery will be holding a community meeting on the new Internet gambling law on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at the Marie Reed Learning Center, 2200 Champlain St. NW, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m

These meetings are being held in each Ward to inform people about some of the implications of a new law that allows Internet-based gambling in homes, restaurants, bars and hotels.

Here are the major points to consider:

-- Last December, the District Council approved as a budget rider. There were no public hearings or committee reviews. Public notice was minimal.

--  D.C. Lottery is now implementing the law. It will grant licenses, without oversight, to bars and restaurants to allow gambling from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily in neighborhood establishments. Patrons will be required to bring their own PC. But if gamblers become a larger share of a businesses revenue, it is possible that some of these establishments may cater to gamblers, creating what amounts to neighborhood gambling parlors. In time, it’s entirely possible that bars and restaurants will find the means to make terminals and tablets available for patron use.

-- This law will expand problem gambling. Originally, proponents said it was aimed at poker players who bet offshore.  But D.C. Lottery plans to offer bingo and slots, or an electronic version of its scratch games, as well as poker, via the Internet. Clearly, D.C. Lottery’s  intent is to expand gambling to new populations, and rake in as much revenue as possible.

-- Will gambling bring in new tax dollars? Not necessarily. Money lost to gambling is money not spent locally.

There are many other issues and implications. It is a first in the nation law and it represents a major expansion of gambling. It was a law adopted without any public input. It is a law operated without any public oversight.

The Adams Morgan ANC 1-C recently voted to ask the District Council to repeal this law.  The Kalorama Citizens Assn., voted similarly at its meeting this week.

Attend the meeting, hear the details, and decide whether this is what you want for our community.

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