28th of January 2012 Author: Glo Wood
Industry criticizes the investigation for not including key figures to testify
At a public hearing held on Thursday before D.C. Council's Finance and Revenue Committee the D.C. Lottery bid was once again in the spotlight. The hearing was held to discuss iGaming in the district and Bill 19-474, the 'Lottery Amendment Repeal Act of 2011'.
To testify before the Committee were Inspector General Charles Willoughby, and Committee Chairman Rep. Jack Evans. Willoughby has come under fire for his findings in a report commissioned by Committee Chairman and Ward 2 Democrat Evans on the circumstances surrounding the award of the bid to Intralot.
Nevertheless, Willoughby stood by his report testifying that the lottery contract, or the internet portion of it, should have been rebid, for the council could not have known in 2009, at the time the bid was awarded, that the channel would be in the game. He also said that city officials "materially changed" the contract afterwards with the addition of an internet gambling program.
'The council should see the entire contract, it should see the finished project. It shouldn't be a piecemeal operation, and I stand by that,' said Willoughby.
The official behind the award, Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, strongly objected to the findings. He claimed that bidders had the opportunity to cover "additional or non-traditional games" including internet gambling although it wasn't explicitly spelled out.
Industry observers strongly criticized the hearing objecting that direct testimony did not include Intralot, the Greek company awarded the bid, nor formed Veteran Service Corp (VSC), the company holding a 51 percent share in the venture that runs the lottery.
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