Lottery to seek community input on ‘hot spots’

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The D.C. Lottery has assured a key D.C. Council member that it will not roll out online gambling in public locations until communities have their say on where the contentious program may operate.

Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, said he met with lottery officials and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer to let them know that Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and other members of the public need to know more about the program, known as I-Gaming.

The District would be the first jurisdiction to offer gambling over the Internet, a move sanctioned by federal law so long as it stays within the city’s borders. Six demonstration games are scheduled for release this summer before betting can begin in early September.

Players must be 19 years old, register on a single account and play from pre-approved IP addresses on their home computers or on their laptops within public areas with a signal that allows players to log on.

These public areas, known as “hot spots,” are of concern to Mr. Evans, who held a hearing on I-Gaming on Wednesday as chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue.

Based on testimony he heard, Mr. Evans said the rules for choosing hot spots are unclear and should be clarified for the public.

“Specifically, the D.C. Lottery will meet with ward council members to organize community meetings to ensure residents have ample time to consider I-Gaming locations prior to any decisions being made,” Mr. Evans said.

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