During last week’s meeting of Washington D.C. city council’s Finance and Revenue Committee, D.C.’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeffrey DeWitt, testified in favor of current legislation that would steer the territory in a positive direction in terms of monopolizing its legal gambling industry as a whole.
Should such legislation pass, “a sole-source contract to the international gaming contractor Intralot [would] operate the city’s new sports betting system,” writes Colbert I. King of the Washington Post. “Intralot operates the city’s gaming system under a different contract with the D.C. Lottery.”
Monopoly in the Capital
The now-infamous proposal, which ultimately passed 7-6, will now go to a final reading before it can officially come into fruition. With Intralot already in charge of the lottery in this area, the well-known gaming contractor is now looking to expand its horizons in the direction of legalized sports betting.As reported by the Washington Post, DeWitt said during the recent meeting:
“I’m just gonna tell ya, there’s nothing there. This is a business decision. We have no horse in this race other than — not to use a sports betting analogy; unfortunately I just did — we’re just recommending what’s best financially.”
It is also worth noting that our nation’s capital is looking into extending Intralot’s ongoing lottery operation as well, which perhaps has something to do with the fact that the entity could be diving head first into sports gambling practices in Washington D.C. too.
Many have expressed concern with the would-be relationship between Intralot’s lottery operation and the company’s sports betting practices. The legislation would obviously monopolize Washington D.C.’s entire gambling situation under a single company.
The already lucrative lottery process on the verge of garnering a financially beneficial sports betting industry – both of which would be overseen by the same proprietor. The legislation also wouldn’t allow other companies to bid for a chance at the D.C. sports betting market. King again:
King noted that it was more than just Intralot that stood to gain, that “the CFO and DC Lottery are not the only ones with a stake in that horse. Intralot and its joint venture partner DC09, a locally based contractor, also have a lot riding on bypassing procurement rules.
“The contract under which Intralot operates the lottery’s gaming system is worth a lucrative $7 million annually. The DeWitt proposal would allow the DC Lottery to negotiate a new contract with Intralot based on a percentage of revenue generated by the sports betting system that the council approved in December. That would mean a ton of money.”
Inevitable Ending for Intralot
With the situation seemingly headed toward the possibility of a single-headed operation, the question, “How do we know if we’re getting the best deal if there is only one horse in the race?” continues to linger.
Nonetheless, it is hard to see this process not resulting in Intralot taking control of the sports betting industry around Washington D.C.. Unlike the movement by states like South Dakota or New York, which has been misguided at times, D.C. seems set on monopolizing betting without a bidding process.
Steering away from the no-bid arrangement would delay A. the entire process and B. the chance to start profiting. Advocates for such legislation have repeatedly warned that a lengthy delay could hinder the potential for skyrocketing revenue in what could become the very near future.
In an attempt to terminate all of the concern and uncertainty once and for all, DeWitt made a point to note that he would negotiate the strongest deal possible. Should the teal not be to his liking, the bidding process would be re-opened to others in addition to Intralot.