- Councilmembers found errors in the lottery and sports betting contract with Intralot, Inc., including large payments to subcontractors associated with city officials.
- Councilmember Jack Evans stepped down from his position on the Metro Board of Directors, as the FBI raided his house for evidence from corruption allegations.
- The Council has until July 25 to decide on the contract with Intralot, Inc., potentially leaving the District without a Lottery operator moving forward.
WASHINGTON D.C. – Sports betting in Washington DC has hit another snag, although this one is exponentially more serious than the previous hiccups.
In a meeting held on June 26 by the Committee of the Whole Public Roundtable, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson listened to testimony concerning the sports betting contract with current lottery operator, Intralot.
The multiyear contract legislation was viewed unfavorably and some council members even dug deeper into the numbers to discover a potential pay-to-play scenario.
At-large councilmember David Grosso was one of the most outspoken legislators of those with concerns.
Gross explained that the council was “urged to sole-source the contract with the coincidentally soon-to-expire lottery contractor, Intralot, in order to avoid a lengthy and costly delay of full implementation and to avoid contract protests.”
This would make sense if DC was in a rush to beat neighboring Maryland or Virginia to the punch, being the first in the DMV area to offer sports betting. However, neither of the states approved measures this session, yet the DC councilmembers involved in the bill kept using this narrative to push for its immediacy.The idea of a pay-to-play scandal came more into light after sports betting bill sponsor, Councilmember Jack Evans, resigned from the Metro Board of Directors. With allegations of corruption, Evans had his home searched by the FBI a few days before the roundtable meeting.
This investigation has caused Mendelson to suggest that Evans shall play no part in the lottery contract and should rescue himself from voting.
The DC Lottery Contract
Evans originally proposed for a multi-operator system, similarly seen in the majority of states with legal sports betting. However, in stating it would delay the industry upwards of two years, Evans was quick to amend his measure to support an extended contract with Intralot, Inc.
The contract with Intralot, Inc. saw a price well above market value and the inclusion of several subcontractors without much detail.
When researching, Grosso discovered that seven companies will share $116 million of the total $215 million contract. One of the companies, M. Jones Companies, is owned by the former DC Deputy Director and another company, Octane, has a board member in Everett Hamilton who managed communications for the current Mayor of DC, Muriel Bowser.
Other connections with lottery members and city officials can also be made within the contract bid with Intralot, Inc.
Grosso came to the conclusion of this scandal due to the weak-nature of Intralot’s business operations. Without a true understanding of their private financial information, Grosso pointed out that the company “showed a limited historic growth track record, substantial cash leakage, and potential for underperformance of the core businesses in 2019 and 2020.”
Evans still is making the push for Intralot, Inc., as the contract is set to expire.
“If the contract is not approved, the District will not only lose our provider of sports wagering services but all lottery services entirely,” said Evans. “It will have an impact because in the budget we just passed, there are funds that are anticipated to be collected from the lottery that will no longer be collected.”
The Council has until July 25 to approve or reject the contract but will meet again this Friday and Wednesday of next week.
Michael began writing as an NBA content writer and has spent time scouting college basketball for Florida State University under Leonard Hamilton and the University of Alabama under Anthony Grant. A graduate of both schools, he covers topics focused on legal sports betting, betting odds, and casino reviews. Michael likes to golf, play basketball, hike, and kayak when not glued to the TV watching NBA games.