Approval for online poker in D.C. seen as long shot
Still other detractors could complicate the District’s online-poker plans.
Despite Mr. Brown’s assertion on Tuesday that “the Department of Justice has made no effort to curtail procurements in other states,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has publicly said he would not support efforts to legalize online gambling, a position taken by many state attorneys general.
And in a Nov. 13, 2009, letter to Rep. Spencer Bachus, ranking Republican on the House Committee on Financial Services, Shawn Henry, assistant director of the Justice Department’s Cyber Division, expressed concerns that technology exists to manipulate online-poker games to allow for cheating, and that online poker could be used to transfer illicit funds from one person to another in a serial fashion, essentially “washing the money.”
Mr. Brown’s proposal also states that the new lottery poker game would have to comply with the Johnson Act, which generally prohibits the manufacture, possession, use, sale or transportation of any gambling device in the District of Columbia.
But lottery experts say that to ensure such compliance, the system would have to rely on an Internet Protocol (IP) address to confirm that players are playing in the District. And Mr. Henry warned that “the use of IP address-based information for geolocation allows for the manipulation” of that information.
“By changing the IP address information, someone can make it appear that their residence is in a different location,” he wrote.
A second hearing on the budget amendments passed by the council this week, including the lottery proposal, is scheduled for Dec. 21. By then, an additional issue also could surface, according to industry experts.
A spokesman for Providence, R.I.-based GTech, which has been a part of a joint venture to run the D.C. Lottery for the past 27 years, said technology exists to confirm the location of online-poker players to ensure they are playing in the District, but it may involve a platform different from the one specified in the District’s request for proposal in the most recent lottery procurement.
Robert K. Vincent, senior vice president of corporate affairs for GTech, which lost in its bid for the D.C. Lottery last year to Greece gaming giant Intralot said, “This is a separate procurement from the one we bid on. It’s a different gaming platform.”
“It could very well be that the bidder deemed the best through the procurement is not really the best when you look at the new elements they are looking to put in place,” added Mr. Nickles.
Beyond the changing of the guard in D.C. government lies the city’s congressional overseers, some of whom are about to take majority control of the House.
“They may want to get more creative,” said Mr. Chaffetz, “but they also might want to seriously look at running the city more efficiently first.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.