Here’s a brief history of gambling’s brief history in Washington:
• December 2010: Michael A. Brown (I-At-Large) proposes including online gambling, such as poker and fantasy sports, in a budget bill as a way to close a $200 million budget shortfall, reported The Post’s Paul Schwartzman.
“We need every kind of revenue enhancement possible,” Brown said at the time, adding that the city is losing legions of local gamblers to racetracks and casinos in Maryland and West Virginia. “We have to be more competitive. Everyone around us is doing stuff that is attracting our residents outside the city.”
• April 2011: D.C. officials propose 20 to 30 online gambling “hot spots” to be in hotels, bars and clubs by September 2011, as reported by The Post’s Justin Jouvenal and Michael Laris. The program is expected to generate $13.2 million between fiscal 2012 and 2014.
“We are trying to do as much innovative stuff as possible to increase revenue,” Brown said at the time.
• June 2011: Officials scramble to launch an online casino in the District, even as the finance committee chairman said he wasn’t aware that “iGaming” had been officially sanctioned, as reported by The Post’s Michael Laris.
“We didn’t even know it was in there,” said Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) at the time. “This was requested to be put into a supplemental budget back in December, without any hearing, without any notice, without any anything.”
• October 2011: As concern about the program grows, District residents weigh in on the D.C. Lottery’s iGaming program ward by ward.
• February 2012: The Finance and Revenue Committee votes to repeal the city’s Internet gambling program, and it looks like iGaming is headed for a full repeal.
“It gives [council members] an opportunity to vote up or down with full knowledge of what they’re voting for,” said Evans, who voted to repeal.
The Post’s Mike DeBonis crunched some numbers and reported that an iGaming repeal could cost District taxpayers $13.1 million — virtually the same amount of revenue officials counted on in April 2011.
From DeBonis: “In terms of costs incurred, city taxpayers have yet to spend a dime on developing the program, but its lottery contractor, Intralot, has spent more than $5 million preparing an iGaming system. The unsettling prospect is that Intralot might sue the District after spending that kind of money only to see authorization for the program evaporate.”