- Sports betting in Washington D.C. was passed by the city council in December of 2018.
- Washington D.C. city council members awarded a no-bid contract to the city’s lottery provider, Intralot.
- A superior court judge removed a restraining order which stopped the city’s first payments to Intralot.
WASHINGTON – A restraining order, which effectively suspended Washington D.C.’s ability to pursue mobile sports betting, has now been lifted by a superior court judge.
On Friday, Judge John Campbell ruled that D.C. council members were in their legal right when they awarded a $215 million dollar no-bid contract to Intralot, the city’s current lottery operator.
That contract was approved in July, but was suspended late last month by Judge Joan Zeldon. The District was set to make it’s first payment of $30 million to Intralot on October 1 but Zeldon’s restraining order temporarily stopped that from happening.
The plaintiff, Dylan Carragher, is a resident of Washington D.C. who developed a sports betting app. His argument is that D.C. Council members violated the Home Rule Act when they elected not to go through a bidding process and simply gave Intralot the lucrative contract.
Council members argued in July that a bidding process would delay legal sports betting in Washington D.C. from launching and that having Intralot in charge of the service would speed up the entire process. That argument is still being made by Council members.
“The fact is that we’re going to see sports betting with a mobile application expand among many states over the next several years, and there’s no reason the District should be left behind,” said D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson in a statement after the Friday court ruling.
The contract has been under scrutiny for months now. In August, the Washington Post even conducted an investigation of Intralot and found the company had “no employees” and that the Intralot website “touted executives who didn’t work there.”
But, the validity of the company was not the primary concern for Judge Campbell’s decision on Friday. The main focus was on the Home Rule Act and whether or not District officials violated that Act by going through a non-bid process.
“We can spend all day asking whether the council should have done it,” said Campbell. “But it clearly and unquestionably was within the council’s authority to do that.”
Carragher’s lawsuit will move forward within the legal process, but mobile sports betting in Washington D.C. will get back on schedule while that goes on.
– In his career, Hasan has worked both local and state government positions—including the Attorney General’s Office in Florida. On top of being familiar with the legislative process, he has also been researching and writing on the legality of sports betting across the US. Outside of work you’ll most likely find him producing or playing music, playing sports, or working on creative writing projects. You’ll also catch him at Doak Campbell Stadium cheering on the Noles.