The online gambling bills passed by the state legislature in the recent years seem to be jinxed. The New Jersey bill was first shot down by the governor and now it has been revealed that the Washington D.C. bill has hidden terms and conditions. When the bill was first passed there was a large amount of hope and celebration that this would be the beginning of a trend toward the legalization of online gambling.
Secrecy And Scheming
However, in a recent article published by the Washington Post, it has been confirmed that there was a large amount of secrecy and scheming to have this bill passed. The D.C. Lottery was originally slated to offer the activity in a limited manner. This was slipped into a supplemental budget enacted in December 2010. The Chief Financial Officer and Attorney General both questioned the legality of this move.
No Committee Review
Independent Councilor Michael A. Brown did not consult then-mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Also, there was no public hearing or committee review regarding the budget. Therefore, there was not any explanation for bypassing the normal process involved in the enactment of legislation. Furthermore, Brown did not reveal his employment with law firm Edwards Angell Palmer and Dodge as a public policy adviser to the government.
Conflict Of Interest
The main clients of the law firm include organizations and manufacturers of various online gambling activities. One such company is GTech which owns GTechG2, an online gambling software development first. Since all of these businesses would benefit from the legalization of online gambling, this is a major conflict of interest. The law firm was also recently the largest sponsor of a discussion about online gambling in San Francisco.
The Law Firm’s Response
When questioned about Brown’s actions, the law firm stated they were unaware of his intent to sponsor the legalization of online gambling. Since this incident, Brown has left the law firm to lobby with the Madison Group, a consulting firm. Brown has also claimed there is no conflict of interest because the companies represented by the law firm were not interested in conducting business in the Washington D.C. area.
Unfortunately, the ramifications of these schemes have not yet been disclosed. However, it is likely they will have a negative impact and certainly delay the legalization of online gambling in Washington D.C. and across the United States.