The D.C. Council has repealed its Internet gambling law, the first such law in the country, over concerns that the legislation was approved without proper public notice.
The Washington Post reported that the council voted 10-2 to reverse the legislation and terminate the city’s contract with iGaming, which would have allowed residents and visitors to bet money on online games of chance. Council members said they would consider future such legislation, however.
Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) said the Feb. 7 vote would result in the loss of tens of millions of dollars in revenue and make it illegal for District residents to gamble on the Internet. He had estimated iGaming would have generated more than $100 million for the city over 15 years.
According to The Post, the gaming legislation was added to the city’s lottery contract in 2009, months after the council had approved the contract. It was then formally adopted in the city’s 2010 spending bill.
In addition to the loss of potential revenue, Intralot, the firm that created the city’s program, has spent more than $5 million in developing the gaming system and could sue to recoup its investment.
Reached by The Post for comment, Byron Boothe, a spokesman for Intralot, would not address the possibility of a lawsuit and said the firm was “disappointed in the council vote,” but would work with the District to create “New state-of-the-art technology and city jobs.”