Washington DC is the only US state that has had a fairly decent amount of success in its trying to legalize online poker in the form of interstate poker. Jack Evans, the D.C. Council member is involved in this long drawn hearing on US online interstate poker, was recently put under the microscope of the media for being OF counsel to a law firm that had a vested interest in the US gambling industry.
This incident may cause the Barton bill which is expected to be legalized shortly inside the district under a provision made into a December budget bill, to get held up.
The attribution of the poker legislation has been debatable and an editorial also posed questions about Michael A. Brown, the council member who contributed the language while working in a law firm which has a predominant interest in the gambling industry. This puts both Evans and Brown who are heavily involved in the legalization of the bill in a questionable position.
Even though there is no actual proof which links Brown’s poker support to the initiatives of the law firm, Angell, Edwards, Palmer Dodge and Brown, leaves a probable controversy about D.C. Council members who also have other jobs outside. It is a similar case with Evans.
Evans is the counsel to Patton Boggs, a law and a lobbying company which has number of clients one of them being Penn National Gaming a tycoon in the gambling industry. The company owns numerous gambling properties in the East Coast, which has the casinos situated nearest to the District like the Hollywood Casinos in Charles Town, Perryville and Grantville.
However, any friction is questionable and James A. Reeder from Patton mentioned that he has not once discussed online poker with Evans and did not know the fact that Penn National had a stance in the District poker initiative.
As far as internet poker goes, Penn National might have an interest in prohibiting the D.C. government from making a new alternative for gamblers in the Washington state, as these gamblers would or else swear by Penn National’s casinos.
Evans also mentioned that there is “no connection” between his undertaking to conduct a hearing and his law firm. “I didn’t even know [Patton Boggs represented Penn National] until you just told me,” he stated. He also said that online poker provision is now a law and modifying it would need a new legislation, which would need Evans to get the support of six of his coworkers.