Predicting that a broader legalized gambling measure will be defeated, D.C. City Council member John A. Willson (D-Ward 2) introduced a bill yesterday calling for an advisory referendum on a city-sponsored lottery with profits going to finance education. Wilson is chairman of the Council's finance and revenue committee.
Under Wilson's bill, the referendum would be held next Nov. 6, when city voters will choose members of the D.C. Board of Education and the city's advisory neighborhood commissions. That would allow adequate time for discussion of the issues, Wilson said.
Wilson said he believes a proposal by Council Chairman Arrington L. Dixon and member David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1) for a May 1 referendum on legalizing a lottery pari-mutuel betting and charity-operated games of chance will be defeated by the council.
Three of the five members of the council's Government Operations Committee have said they will vote against the broader proposal when it is considered Feb. 14.
Dixon has estimated that the broader proposal for legalized gambling would yield at least $40 million for the city's general fund. An aide to Wilson said a weekly city lottery would bring in an estimated $8 million a year for public school and the University of the District of Columbia.