Although Washington D.C.’s “Lottery Modernization Act of 2010” has already been enacted into law, the D.C. Lottery has delayed implementing its plan for internet gambling in order to provide an opportunity for input from residents of the city.
Prior to the law’s enactment, public input was virtually non-existent. City of D.C. Council Member Michael Brown achieved enactment in December 2010 by attaching it to a larger bill amending the City’s 2011 budget plan. It is alleged that other Council Members hardly discussed the lottery provisions before approving the budget amendment, and some later claimed to be totally unaware they had enacted an internet gambling law.
Following a bit of public furor, the City Council held an informational hearing on June 29 at which several Members expressed disapproval. The D.C. Lottery responded by announcing a series of “community outreach meetings” to take place this month in each of the city’s eight wards. Recently D.C. Lottery postponed the meetings until next month because residents have complained that too few of them remain in the city during August.
The Lottery Modernization Act permits internet gambling by way of an amendment to the D.C. Official Code sections which deal with lotteries and number games. The definition of “a lottery or lottery games” now includes “games of skill and games of chance,” which can be operated on the internet as long as D.C. Lottery can verify customers’ location within the city.
The following is the text of the legislation approved by the D.C. Council as part of Bill 18-1100:
SUBTITLE J. LOTTERY MODERNIZATION ACT
Sec. 791. Short title.
This subtitle may be cited as the “Lottery Modernization Act of 2010.”
Sec. 792. The Law to Legalize Lotteries, Daily Numbers Games, and Bingo and Raffles for Charitable Purposes, effective March 10, 1981 (D.C. Law 3-172; D.C. Official Code § 3-1301 et seq., and 22-716 et seq.), is amended as follows.
(a) § 3-1313 is amended by adding a subsection (a) to read as follows:
“A lottery or lottery game is both games of skill and games of chance that are operated by and for the benefit of the District of Columbia by the Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board, however (i) where such games of skill and games of chance are offered via the internet, any technology employed for such play must confirm the play to be at all times within the District, provided however, such restriction shall not apply to the conduct of Fantasy Sports and sweepstakes style games, where such games are lawful, and (ii) that no method, media, or device for play of these games of skill and games of chance can violate the Johnson Act (15 U.S.C. 1171 et seq.) or any other federal statute.”
(b) The existing language in § 3-1313 shall be renumbered as subsection (b).
(c) a new subsection (c) is added to read as follows:
“The Board, through the Chief Financial Officer, pursuant to Title 1 of the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act, approved October 21, 1968 (82 Stat. 1204; D.C. Official Code § 2-501 et seq.), may issue rules to implement the provisions of this section, and may establish which games may be offered and additional terms and conditions for the conduct of the games not inconsistent with subsection (a) of this section, including the percentage of wagered amounts to be retained by the Board, minimum and maximum wagers, and time limitations for the games
Click here for the full text of the budget amendment in .pdf format: Bill 18-1100 (Lottery Modernization Act begins at page 36)
For more background, see:
Press Release: D.C. Lottery Reschedules iGaming Community Outreach Meetings
The Washington Times: D.C. Lottery schedules public meetings on online gambling