In a significant move, recently the Washington D.C government has shown support towards a no-bid contract to its lottery providers in sports betting. The government officials acknowledged that the council will have to grant a contract for all games and not just the sports betting. This move is drawing a lot of criticism from the stakeholders of the gambling industry, activists and also a few members of the council. The contract extends the lottery services too. Following this announcement, the Greek lottery service, Intralot that has control over lotteries and sports betting in Columbia D.C, wants to build robust sports betting state before anyone else.
The Council Raises Concerns
The council was charged with impropriety in the no-bid contract. However, the officials held a few meetings and public hearings to fight back. They justify sports betting as a source of great revenue and intend to capitalize on the Industry. One of the members, Jack Evans, who introduced the bill, stressed the need to take a quick decision and avoid the 2 year-long bidding procedure.
The CFO Gives Assurance
Jeff DeWitt, the CFO who oversees the city’s lottery, has also justified the no-bid contract saying, “It was necessary to keep the process faster rather than letting it play out on its own for 2 long years.” The D.C. leaders seem satisfied with the Intralot lottery services and extended their contract. Washington DC has plans to allow the betting on kiosks at stadiums and other public venues of the city.
Many have expressed criticism over the contract saying this wasn’t the best deal. They called for a thorough analysis of the bidding by the Spectrum Gaming, a consultancy service that reports on the lottery and sports betting industry. Jeff DeWitt has held grounds on negotiating a robust deal with Intralot. They have set parameters for finalizing the deal without which the bidding process would take its place. However, there’s a lack of transparency on what these parameters would be.
Sports Betting in Maryland and Virginia
This contract could be the start of a growing market for sports betting. The legislatures of Maryland and Virginia are also considering legalizing sports betting. If they did so before Washington DC, then the sports bettors will prefer the out-of-state opportunities as well.
The Intralot Projections and Its Criticism
Intralot has projected a profit of 20% from sports betting, while the industry numbers as a whole are close to 5%. These optimistic projections have raised many eyebrows. The optimistic figures can be reached only when D.C offers a non-competitive opportunity. D.C is letting go of the competitive process for building robust sports betting infrastructure. This monopoly model is being criticized by the industry as it not only hurts the revenue potential but also stifles competition.
The Ethics Questioned
Most of the public watchdogs and other groups are scrutinizing the tie between the lottery and the council. The agreement has drawn criticism due to the sole reason that the council members have had affiliations with Intralot. Many of the D.C officials have acknowledged that the contract with Intralot was unusual. However, they have cited this move backed by Intralot’s reputation and the quick action needed in the sports betting process.