Last night, Ward 6 residents Allison Hazen, Molissa Farber, Jim Richards, Rick Howard, Adam Axler, Chris Jeon, Eric Melancon, Mike Nicholson, Yvonne Mattiello, Mike Crowley, Yenu Woldehana, Alex Haurek, Ray Hubbard and yours truly ... along with other DC residents Billy Kinberg, Andy Oxfeld, Rae McClary, Chuck Perry, Wayne Bonomo, Joe Cobb and several others I am accidentally omitting - attended the final DC Lottery Community meeting at historic Eastern Market to discuss the iGaming program.
In what was the most well attended meeting yet, the room was overwhelmed with support for the iGaming program. I estimate there were ~80 people in the room. Of the ~40 people who gave oral comments, ~35 of them voiced their support for online gaming. The few who gave relevant articulate comments against iGaming seemed to feel disappointed or unhappy that they were not consulted as a part of last year's iGaming legislative track.
Of the many Ward 6 residents in attendance, many thanks go to Allison Hazen, Molissa Farber, Jim Richards, Adam Axler, Yvonne Mattiello, and Billy Kinberg who gave compelling commentary to the Lottery and to the two Councilmen in the room - Ward 6's Tommy Wells & Michael Brown (At-Large) - about their feelings on iGaming and experiences with online gaming as it has existed.
Here are a number of links to the comments of those Ward 6 residents that chose to write them down before delivering them Monday night.
- The Jewish Girl - Wrote a firey blog post recounting the meeting and the issue in general in more elaborate detail than I think I ever could.
- Yvonne Mattiello (with sign language interpreter) - Presented on behalf of the Deaf Community at Gallaudet on why online gaming is a preferred way for the deaf to play skill/chance games. She also mentioned how the revenue generated could trickle down to helping people with disabilities such as the deaf.
- Allison Hazen - Talked to the type of player that plays online games and to the losses suffered by many due to the seizure and improper handling of player funds by offshore companies, and contradicted many of the claims made some anti-online gaming folks. She pointed out that teacher's jobs could be saved by the extra revenue brought in.
I am glad that Councilman Wells was willing and able to attend and hear from his voting bloc. (Not every Ward member chose to or was able to attend their scheduled meeting.) I was a bit surprised by his tweets during the meeting, which I saw today, but ultimately it seemed like he and others in attendance learned a lot about iGaming that they were previously unaware up or for whatever reason, hadn't been adequately briefed on. Let's hope it makes a difference!
Local News so far:
Washington Post 11/22/11 - Debonis
Washington Times 11/28/11 - Howell
DCist 11/29/11 - Morrissey
Not so Local News:
Reviewed Casino - 11/23/11
Advisor - 11/24/11
NEXT MEETING: Ward 6's Community meeting was the final one of the series put on by the Lottery. I think there is going to be another council hearing at some point in the near future - Will update.