Sports betting

Washington DC approves controversial Intralot monopoly contract

Council members approve $215m contract despite ethics concerns and widespread opposition

Washington DC Council members have approved the no-bid contract that awards Intralot the right to be the sole sports betting provider in the state, despite concerns about the ethics of the decision.

Council members voted 7-5 to approve the $215m, five-year deal given to Intralot without a competitive process.

One of the approving votes came from council member Jack Evans who is facing intense scrutiny over his alleged links with Intralot.

Supporting council members said they passed the bill so the district would not have to wait several more years for sports betting, with the contract also allowing Intralot to offer mobile betting within the city limits.

Detractors said the no-competition process undermined public trust and would result in a bad product for consumers.

“This stinks,” said council member Elissa Silverman. “Given all the ethics clouds over this building and this contract, we need to hit pause. We need to restore the public’s trust, but with the approval of this contract, we will continue to erode it.”

The process even prompted a joint op-ed from FanDuel and DraftKings in the Washington Post this week, criticising the “fundamentally flawed” monopoly model.

“You don’t have to look far for evidence that open, competitive sports betting markets will thrive,” the firms wrote. “After only a year of full operation, New Jersey has already surpassed Nevada (yes, Nevada) in monthly sports betting revenue.”

MLB, the NBA and the PGA Tour have all expressed opposition to the monopoly model, as have professional bettors.

It is unclear if mobile sports betting will launch in the District before the NFL season.

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