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Silvia Pavlof January 19, 2024 3 min read
DC Lottery Sparks Potential Sports Betting Overhaul with GambetDC Shake-Up
Instead of persisting in the problematic collaboration with Intralot, the lottery proposed extending the contract with the third-party provider while subcontracting a private operator
The landscape of Washington D.C.’s sports betting market is probably poised for a significant transformation in 2024 as the D.C. Lottery proposed an overhaul of the current mobile app, GambetDC.
D.C. Lottery Urges Shift from GambetDC
During the session of the D.C. Council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development (CBED) held on January 18, the lottery recommended a departure from GambetDC as the primary sports betting app but stopped short of advocating for a complete opening of the market to all mobile operators.
Rather than continuing with the troubled partnership with Intralot, the lottery suggested extending the contract with the third-party provider but having them subcontract a private operator. This move would see renowned names like BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, or FanDuel, each with a physical presence in D.C., take the reins of the District’s primary sports betting app.
The proposal to reconsider GambetDC comes as its five-year contract with Intralot approaches expiration in July 2024. Despite consistent underperformance and customer dissatisfaction marked by subpar odds and technical glitches, the lottery had previously defended the app’s long-term potential. However, the recent proposal signals a shift in perspective.
During the session, CBED Chair Kenyan McDuffie expressed skepticism about the timing and lack of information provided by the lottery. Tensions escalated during exchanges between McDuffie and Frank Suarez, the lottery’s executive director. Suarez revealed that discussions with Intralot about subcontracting an operator began around November or December, though he was unable to specify the exact start date.
Lottery’s Bid on Intralot’s Mystery Ally Stirs Discontent in D.C. Council
Suarez further disclosed that Intralot had a preferred private operator for subcontracting but refrained from publicly revealing which one it was. This reticence irked McDuffie, who questioned why the lottery greenlit Intralot’s undisclosed choice without committee input.
Intralot’s plan suggests an extension of their contract, but the actual operation of mobile sports betting would be handed over to the subcontracted operator. Suarez believes this shift would result in a more efficient and user-friendly app.
However, critics, including representatives from major sportsbooks like DraftKings and Fanatics Sportsbook, argued for a more open and competitive market. They cited examples from states like New Hampshire, where a sole operator system is in place, but DraftKings emphasized the differences in circumstances.
The CBED is now tasked with evaluating both proposals – the lottery’s revised plan and the possibility of an open market. With the mobile sports betting contract set to expire in July, the Council faces crucial decisions in the coming weeks and months that could redefine the sports betting landscape in Washington, D.C.