Sports Betting Legal Summary: The DC sports betting saga so far October 21, 2019 By Owain Flanders The District of Columbia passed a bill in December 2018 to legalize and regulate sports betting. Since then, the state has been on a long journey centered around a controversial deal for betting rights. In February this year, the DC Council awarded Intralot exclusive rights for mobile sports betting in Washington DC with a majority vote, despite three Council members expressing concern over the deal. Intralot already operated its lottery within the state and lottery officials were keen to skip a bidding process and work directly with the firm, arguing the supplier provided the most expedient solution with the greatest return on investment. In addition, the Council voted for two emergency measures, which would enable the DC Lottery to start negotiations with Intralot as Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the bill. However, there were suggestions Intralot had been awarded the rights for alternative motives. David Gross, one of the three Council members who voted against Intralot, suggested the supplier had made sizeable contributions to Council member campaign funds. Gross didn’t see the sports betting contract as an emergency and, for this reason, opposed the two emergency measures voted in by the Council. He said: "We previously noted the downgrade of Intralot’s Moody’s bond rating. That should be enough to show there is no emergency here. The only emergency is for Intralot. I will vote against this. It is not an emergency. It is a giveaway." These claims did nothing to prevent the deal however, and in July the Council voted to award lottery and sports betting operations to Intralot for the next five years in a deal reportedly worth $215m. The legislative process itself was dominated by an investigation into Councilmember Jack Evans, the chief proponent of DC sports betting, who has several connections with Intralot. In a similar vein to Gross, Councilmember Elissa Silverman is quoted as saying "the whole thing stinks," following Intralot being awarded the contract. Two months later, the deal was back in the headlines after a Superior Court judge in DC temporarily blocked the no-bid gambling contract. The block came after a sports betting technology business founder named Dylan Carragher requested a restraining order. Carragher believed the contract violated the city’s procurement laws, claiming the contract illegally barred him and other vendors from participating in the "potentially lucrative enterprise." Large-scale operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings showed they agree with Carragher, after the rival companies wrote an opinion editorial in the Washington Post, pushing legislators to open the market to multiple businesses. This weekend, in the latest chapter of the story, a DC Superior Court judge denied Carragher’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the deal. This new decision allows Intralot to move forward, despite Carragher’s underlying lawsuit, which is still pending. Carragher’s attorney has said they will appeal the decision but Judge John Campbell indicated he did not think this will succeed. To the despair of competitors eyeing the potential of DC’s market, the defeat of Carragher’s injunction request means DC is one step closer to continuing without anyone being able to submit rival bids to Intralot. After almost a year since DC legalized sports wagering, it could be that the state’s struggle is almost over.