WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday morning, the D.C. Council voted current lottery provider Intralot as the sole mobile sports gambling provider for the district.
DC Bill 23-0025 authorized the lottery vendor and was put on the fast track by bypassing the bid process and going directly to voting. The bill was passed with an 8-4 vote by the D.C. Council after a mere five-minute discussion.
Blow-back From Council Members Against Speedy Bill
The bill was not passed without a strong push from the mightier powers that be, within the council. The state would have to wait a minimum of 27 months to get a vendor contract if the bill was proposed in the traditional sense and the city made a request for a proposal.
The quick bill turnaround did not come without push-back from current council members, however. While the bill was able to bypass the bidding process, the move was still met with disdain from some council members.
“We previously noted the downgrade of Intralot’s Moody’s bond rating,” said David Grosso, At-Large Council Member. “That should be enough to show that there is no emergency here…the only emergency is for Intralot. I will vote against this. It is not an emergency. It is a giveaway.”
Competitors Left Out Of Bidding Creates Muffled Perception
The question of why the D.C. Council skipped the bidding process for lottery vendors was explained by the District as a need to be ready to go by this upcoming NFL season. Councilman Grosso expressed concern during the voting of the contract that Intralot had made large contributions to certain council member campaign funds.
Vendor competitors IGT and Scientific Games were the other providers excluded from the process of bidding for a sports gambling vendor. It seems that this position will not change now that Intralot has been awarded the contract.
What This Means For D.C. Residents
For D.C. residents this means that mobile-based betting will still be run by their current lottery provider and may indeed be available for the 2019 NFL season. The question as to whether or not there are unsavory actions taking place within the council to make way for this expedited vendor contract has yet to be determined. For now, though, residents can rest easy knowing they won’t have to wait two years for their city to secure an operator contract.