DC Lottery officials have wasted no time in organising the public consultation sessions across the city's eight wards in compliance with Council's request that this be done before online gambling in the city is initiated.
Earlier this year a council budgetary bill was passed that included a provision legalising online gambling, making the home of the federal government the first US state-district to legalise the pastime.
The passage of the bill, and the lack of any complaint from Congress, prompted opponents to protest that it had been passed without sufficient public consultation, and it was agreed that the DC Lottery would put implementation on hold until a consultation had been completed.
Lottery director Buddy Roogow told the Washington Times this week that the consultation dates, spanning August 16 to September 14, had been set and his officials were ready to go.
“As of now, it’s in the law. … Lacking other direction, we’re still moving forward in what we hope is the most responsible way,” he said.
Roogow said the meetings will allow lottery officials to present a PowerPoint explanation of the i-gaming program and dispel myths about its impact on communities.
“These are not brick-and-mortar casinos,” he said. “There isn’t an impact on traffic. There’s not an impact on zoning regulations.”
The first meeting is for leaders of advisory neighbourhood commissions, and will be hosted at libraries and community centres, with a question-and-answer format that gives preference to residents of the ward in which the meeting is held, Roogow said.
The final meeting is scheduled for September 8 in Ward 6 before a meeting for the full council on September 14.
The online gambling initiative as approved by Council will raise money for the city coffers by allowing registered persons within the District to wager money on games such as poker and blackjack within their homes or on their laptops at “trusted sites” in designated hotels or other areas.