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Online Gambling Repeal One Step Closer

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A council committee voted to repeal a plan to offer online gambling in Washington Tuesday, amid a "lack" of public scrutiny. CORRECTION: Tom Sherwood notes that online gambling was introduced in late 2010, not late 2009 as he mistakenly said in this report.

A bill to repeal the nation’s first government-supported online gambling program cleared a D.C. Council committee Wednesday afternoon.

In the Finance and Revenue Committee vote, Council members Muriel Bowser, David Catania and Jack Evans voted for the repeal. Council members Marion Barry and Michael Brown opposed the repeal.

“I think it’s a mistake,” Brown said Tuesday.

The repeal has enough votes in the full council to pass next week, Brown said.

After initially declining to take a position on the repeal, Mayor Vincent Gray also has voiced support for it.

Online gambling was put in the city budget in December 2010 without public hearings. The council approved D.C.’s lottery contract, but language about online gambling was added to the contract later.

Plans for poker and other games last spring prompted public backlash and delayed the games. The plan was never implemented and now appears to be dead.

Several council members who support the repeal have said they are not opposed to online gambling in D.C., they just don’t like how it was done.

Brown said if the repeal is successful, he will start over with a new standalone bill and public hearings. Evans said he didn’t expect such a bill to pass.

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