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D.C. Council Grants Sports Betting Monopoly To D.C. Lottery Provider

Council Suspends Bidding On Sports Betting Contract, Grants It To Greek Company

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On Tuesday, the D.C. Council voted to suspend the competitive bidding process that would allow companies to bid for a contract to run Washington D.C.’s mobile sports betting apps.

Instead, the council outsourced the deal to Intralot, a Greek company that already has a contract to operate the D.C. lottery. The idea was floated around the council last month, but Council Chairman Phil Mendelson withdrew the emergency legislation and opted to hold hearings about how the Council should proceed with the implementation of sports betting.

The bill passed through the Council by a narrow 7-6 margin. The proponents of the bill, most notably D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt, argued that it would take two years to offer mobile sports betting if they allowed companies to compete in an open marketplace. According to DeWitt’s figures, those two years would cost the nation’s capital $61 million in tax revenue.

Those against the bill felt that it would be cheaper and more beneficial to go through the process, especially with Intralot’s history of corruption scandals.

The bill now moves to Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D). Bowser supports the idea of giving the contract to Intralot and is expected to sign the bill. By skipping the bidding process, DeWitt hopes to have mobile sports betting available in Washington D.C. by the fall.