First, members of the D.C. Council did not know that preparations for iGaming (or any other term that describes games of chance or skill conducted over the Internet) were underway;
Second, the lottery contract should be reopened because all bidders did not have a chance to bid on iGaming; and
Third, following the letter of the law in the contracting process is not sufficient, and individual moral judgment should be applied.
All of these assertions are false. Let me take them one at a time:
1. The “Lottery Modernization Act of 2010” was drafted and inserted by the D.C. Council into the fiscal 2011 Supplemental Budget Support Act. The act was subsequently approved by the D.C. Council on Dec. 21, 2010, and it specifically refers to “both games of skill and games of chance that are operated by and for the benefit of the District of Columbia . . . provided that: . . . If the games of skill and games of chance are offered via the Internet, any technology employed for the play shall confirm the play to be at all times within the District.”
There was discussion on the dais about the law, and council members had two weeks to review the measure between the first vote on Dec. 7 and the final vote on Dec. 21. My office issued a fiscal impact statement on the legislation that specifically discussed the issues surrounding iGaming. This statement was made available to all members.
2. The modification of the contract did not represent a material change to the original request for proposals (RFP) and has not yet been exercised.
It is important to note that “iGaming” is a recent term of art to describe games offered over the Internet. One of the sections of the lottery request for proposals was “Offered Options.” In this section, bidders were asked to submit specifications relating to nontraditional lottery games. There was no discussion in the RFP regarding the form of these options; it was up to the bidders to suggest new offerings that could increase the District’s revenue stream. Significantly, all of the bidders included some form of “gaming over the Internet” — or “iGaming,” as it were, in their proposals.
One of the two unsuccessful bidders has claimed that it did not include Internet gaming in its proposal. This is not true. We have posted the nontraditional lottery games proposal from one of the bidders on the lottery Web site. Another bidder, Metropolitan Gaming, marked this portion of its proposal “confidential,” so it cannot be released without its consent. I encourage Metropolitan Gaming to allow us to include its proposal on the Web site or to release the relevant portions to the public.
3. As chief financial officer for the District, I am bound by law and obligated by professional standards to follow the letter and intent of the law. For Mr. King to assert that, in the fully transparent process to award the lottery contract where none of the governing laws or regulations were violated, ignored or evaded, this constitutes an amoral action is simply not reasonable. In a nation of laws, the law is paramount above personal judgment.
It is entirely up to the District’s policymakers — the mayor and the D.C. Council — to decide whether to have iGaming. My job as CFO is to implement the law correctly without applying any personal preference or moral judgment, and that is what I have done.
I would welcome a reexamination of our process and decisions by an external contracting and procurement oversight authority. I assert with the greatest confidence that our process and intent met all of the standards and regulations governing contract awards in general and lottery contracts in particular.
The writer is chief financial officer of the District of Columbia.