Intralot Closes in On Sole Sourcing DC Sports Betting

It appears that the initial alliance of DC Lottery and Intralot will go ahead as planned with the launch of sports betting in the nation’s capital, after all. The city’s lawmakers from The Council of the District of Columbia have voted 7-6 in favor of allowing the bypass of the procurement process.

Despite last month’s claims that the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act is to be ratified following the appeal from several professional leagues and operators, Washington DC sports wagering will remain in the sole hands of two firms.

Heated Debate

The council’s session was held on February 5th, with two councilmembers in particular – Elissa Silverman and David Grosso – being the most outspoken opposition to sole-sourcing.

Grosso was one of the councilmembers who voted against the original sports betting legislation in December. During his speech, it was stated: “I fail to understand why this cannot be competitively bid through our traditional procurement process.”

Silverman seconded his opinion and further underlined her worries by pointing out that the city is right in the middle of modernizing its lottery…

…prompting her to round off her statement with: “I’m not convinced sole sourcing both sports betting and lottery at this time is the best policy decision.”

During last week’s session for the Committee on Finance and Revenue, Silverman tried and failed to introduce an amendment that would keep sports betting and lottery separated.

Opposition is Worried About Losing Revenue

Councilmember, Jack Evans, voiced the opinion of the pro-sole sourcing side and echoed DC Council Chief Financial Officer, Jeff DeWitt’s, concern that if a procurement process is indeed launched, the state could look into a loss of $60.9 million in sports betting revenue between now and 2022.

Apart from that, Evans argued, at last week’s public hearing, only three speakers were in favor of a procurement process, with twelve against it.

He went on to defend DeWitt’s statement by underlining that he did not show support for sole-sourcing per se – rather, it’s much more simple than that:

“It came down to money. If we do not move forward… […] … we may save $1m on the contract, but lose $60m in revenue as it would take at least 27 months or longer to get a new contract in place.”

DC’s Long Road to Sports Betting

Evans was one of the councilmembers who submitted the original bill in September

…sending it on a long and winding road towards the present moment stirred up by this controversy. On December 18th, the Washington DC City Council passed the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act with a 11-2 vote in favor, making the state the seventh US jurisdiction to do so.

The Act allows retail and digital sports betting in the city of 700,000 people and with teams in all professional US sports leagues. Four venues can apply for Class A license in order to offer sports betting services: FedEx Field, Nationals Park, Capital One Arena and Audi Field.

DC Lottery privilege lies in mobile wagering, because their app will be the only portable betting platform permitted according to current situation.

Source:

“DC’s Intralot ‘sole-sourcing’ move clears first hurdle”, igamingbusiness.com, February 6, 2019.

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