Subcontractors WIth Political Ties to Benefit From DC Sports Betting Deal

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

The Greek gambling firm Interlot will manage the Washington, DC sports betting contract exclusively after the council opted not to enter into a bidding process. 

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The contentious 7-to-5 vote came after a majority of the council’s 13 members expressed concerns about the $215 million, five-year deal, according to Fenit Nirappil of the Washington Post.

There was also council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) mired in an ethics scandal.

“If we turn this down, there will be another two years, some have said three years, before we have a contract in place,” Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) said. “We just know there will be a protest, there will be a lot of controversy, a lot of dispute, and a lot of delay. And there is a significant cost to a delay of a couple of years.”

Subcontractors with little experience in the world of sports betting and some with political connections are expected to benefit the most from the Interlot deal.

Nirappil names each of them:  A former D.C. State Board of Education official, former campaign aides to Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), a friend of council member Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and a law firm that lobbied D.C. Council members to pass the gambling legislation.

Eric Ramsey of Legal Sports Report notes that the district ended up getting a raw deal in an effort to beat out neighboring states Virginia and Maryland in the sports wagering space.

What lawmakers have authorized — whether they realize it or not — is a fixed-payout sports lottery product that won’t look anything like traditional sports betting. Intralot’s proud claim that it will hold as much as 30% of all wagers was likely the main factor that earned it the contract.

Capital One Arena, Audi Field, Entertainment and Sports Arena and Nationals Park (and the two block radius surrounding each venue) are expected to be the first venues to offer sports betting, though it is not immediately clear if bets will be taken by the start of the new NFL season.  Mobile is not likely until some time 2020.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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