Washington Court Suspends Sports Betting and Lottery Contract

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A contract for a lottery and sports betting platform, which was awarded by the District of Columbia to Intralot, has been stayed by the Superior Court as it was granted without a competitive process.

Online lottery launch could be delayed

We’ve often said that the process of introducing legislation to legalise and regulate sports betting in the USA will not be a smooth one, and the current situation in the nation’s capital would seem to bear this out. The contract was awarded after the city’s legislature narrowly voted to suspend competitive bidding due to the fact that Intralot already manages the DC Lottery and it was not considered possible to split the two contracts.

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Could the US capital be in breach of federal laws on online lottery and sports betting?

 

The legal challenge was brought by Dylan Carragher, a DC-based sports betting entrepreneur, who claims that the $215 million online lottery contract was null and void because it violates federal statutes governing competitive tendering. Namely, the award is said to be in flagrant breach of the Home Rule Act, which governs local government in Washington.

Online lottery and lottery retailers need to share the same platform

The Superior Court agreed with Mr Carragher’s arguments and has stayed the award of the contract to Intralot, which means there will be no official online lottery or sports betting in Washington DC until the legal case is resolved in a full hearing.

Washington DC Superior Court judge Joan Zeldon stated in her judgement there was a “substantial likelihood” that the challenge would succeed in demonstrating that the city was in violation of the federal law.

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Thousands of Washington residents will soon be able to play the lottery online. The only question is when.

 

It is likely that Intralot will still win both contracts

City authorities will now need to review the provisional judgement and decide whether to challenge the ruling in a full hearing, or move forward with a full competitive tendering process. This would create difficulties on its own as Intralot already provides the retail network for the DC Lottery and a separate platform for iLottery and sports betting would likely be unworkable.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told the Washington Post: “My understanding is that the essence of the judge’s action was to buy time for the parties to brief this and for the court to figure this out,” he said. “The argument by the plaintiff focuses on an arcane reading of the Home Rule Act, and it’s an incorrect reading.”

A DC Lottery spokesperson said that the legal case is almost certain to delay the planned January 2020 launch of online lottery and sports betting in the US capital.

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