The Department of Veterans Affairs' regional office in Philadelphia has installed a new lottery machine in the employee cafeteria, even though VA officials are not allowed to gamble while on federal property, and have been told they can't use the new machine.
The decision to install the machine has baffled VA employees, something VA officials themselves acknowledged to workers in an email obtained by TheBlaze.
"You may have noticed there is a lottery machine physically located in the cafeteria space and thought this was in direct conflict with our stated policy regarding gambling," VA officials wrote in that email.
The email said VA management opposed the lottery machine, but then later found out that federal regulations allow them to be installed in federal buildings.
Section 102-74.395 of the Code of Federal Regulations says anyone on federal property is not allowed to gamble or operate gambling devices, "except fort he vending or exchange of chances by licensed blind operators of vending facilities for any lottery set forth in a State law."
That means any VA workers in Philadelphia who might be tempted to use the lottery machine in the cafeteria will have to try to resist that temptation.
"The lottery machine will soon be turned on, but in no way negates our internal policy which was shared with all employees in a building wide announcement," the VA said.
That policy is that federal employees "shall not participate in any gambling activity or game of chance, including conducting a lottery or pool, a game for money, purchasing a 'numbers slip' or ticket, or promoting betting or acting as an agent for others to gamble."
According to one employee at the Philly VA, the policy raises the question of whether VA officials can collect money for football pools or other small stakes gambling. This employee said VA officials have asked for football pool money before, which would seem to violate the VA's gambling policy.