GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 18 - October 2011

by J. Todd, Executive Director, APCW U nless there’s massive popular ap- peal among voters and a wave of political will for a new policy, most game-changing policies in the U.S. (whether at the federal, state or local lev- el) eventually materialize through some sort of backroom deal. It’s probably not the way that politics should work in an ideal world, but hey, you’ve gotta play the cards you’re dealt, right? You’d think that the edito- rial board at the Washing- ton Post would realize this. I mean, they only cover the world’s most fractious po- litical body, the U.S. Con- gress. Their offices are a mere two miles from the U.S. Capitol building. So their indignation at the way that legislation that would regulate Internet gambling passed in the Washington, D.C., city council seems a little heavy-handed. A series of news stories and editorials in the Post has called out the way in which the bill was passed (as a small part of the city’s budget resolution), the motivations of those be- hind the promotion of Internet gambling (city councilman Michael Brown was paid more than six figures by a firm that has an interest in seeing Internet gambling regu- lated in the U.S.), and the wisdom and feasibility of regulating Internet gambling within the District. While these are all legitimate questions, where was the call for transparency when theUIGEAwas passed by Congress thanks to then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s backroom deal to attach it to a must-pass Safe Ports bill? Where were the stories linking the campaign donations from the horse racing industry to Rep. Bob Good- latte (R-Va.), a longtime proponent of online gambling restrictions who made sure to exclude horse racing in every bill he proposed on the measure? And that’s to say nothing of the way the REST of the political goals of BOTH political parties have been accomplished on issues with a much broader scope than Internet gam- bling in this country. Based on what we’ve heard from lots of people inside the industry (and even from some who oppose it) most lawmakers see Internet poker in the U.S. as “inevitable.” In a perfect world, all the politicians in each jurisdiction would line up and we’d have a vote. But we don’t live in a perfect world. The provision passed, and the city is moving forward. The mucking muckrakers at the Wash- ington Post , however, seem to be doing just as much to derail the implementa- tion of online gambling in the District as they can, justifying their efforts under the guise of wanting to see more trans- parency from city government. But when the editorial board sees is- sues they support pass in the same manner, well then it’s fine to just look the other way. Seems almost as disingenu- ous as saying that they’re “shocked – shocked – to find that gambling is going on in here!” WALL OF SHAME 64 APCW’s Wall of Shame