The Office of Lottery and Gaming in the District of Columbia has announced the planned for the end of March launch of sports betting has been postponed again, this time, for an indefinite amount of time.
In a world where all of the major sporting events have been cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus /Covid-19/ outbreak, and sports fans and bettors are accommodating to a reality with no events to watch or place a wager on, such news may have gone unnoticed, especially when the current launch date push back is not the first one.
Sports Betting For The Super Bowl Final
Back in November, it turned out the lottery’s citywide mobile betting app would start sometime in the second quarter of 2020, though the initial planning was for a launch in January, in time for the Super Bowl Final. By that time, the DC Lottery justified the push back by the delay of the app, due to a September legal challenge in court of the no-bid $215 million contract for five years the lottery’s had signed with its current tech provider, Intralot, which blocked the plans of the platform provider company and was not repulsed until October.
The Usual Suspect
Despite being ready and tested, the web and mobile wagering platforms of the lottery would not launch, this time due to the coronavirus outbreak that halted all major sports across the states and on a worldwide scale.
“At this time, almost all professional sports leagues around the world have suspended indefinitely play due to growing concerns around the COVID-19 virus and, as a consequence, there are little-to-no games or bets to offer.”Spokesperson, DC Lottery
DC’s Sports Book Provider Is Solid
DC Lottery spokesperson was quick to deny rumours the current delay was caused by the financial woes of the technology provider company, Intralot, which had been on a rough patch in the stock market since January 2018, and had yet to report Q4 for the financial 2019 year results.
The Greek-based technology company Intralot that is active in 48 regulated jurisdictions across the world, has somewhat of a contradictory start of sports betting in another US state, Montana.
The Montana Lottery Commission rolled-out sports betting terminals, under the Sports Bet Montana brand, to more than 140 locations statewide, and Intralot powered the sports betting operations behind the terminals. Much to the outrage of bettors in Montana, odds offerings were much poorer compared to the ones offered in other states and out of whack to any other internationally licensed sports book offering.
Needless to say, the postponed launch of sports betting by the lottery in DC would impact even more the state budget, already hurt by the coronavirus outbreak, as DC’s Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt recently warned of an impact to the extent of $500 million for the fiscal year.