The release of a mobile sports betting app in D.C. has been delayed, after a judge issued a restraining order due to a disputed contract with a gaming company.
The District planned to provide residents with a platform, where they can cast bets on sports over an app developed by the D.C. Lottery and had signed a controversial no-bid contract with Greek gaming company Intralot. (The D.C. Lottery is currently run by Intralot.)
On Thursday, a judge ruled that the D.C. Council’s decision of granting Intralot such a contract was potentially unlawful.
The lawsuit was filed last week by Dylan Carragher, a D.C. resident, who produced his own mobile app for sports betting through his tech company. Carragher objected to the District’s move, claiming that the $215 million contract was in violation of the Home Rule Act, as it was conducted without competitive bidding.
Carragher intended to compete for being awarded the contract by the D.C. Council to take part in the lucrative online betting business.
Commenting on the court’s ruling, Donald Temple, Carragher’s attorney, said “We were praying hard for this. It’s the right decision. The judge looked at this and threw the ball straight across the plate,” according to DCist. “He just wants the opportunity to compete.”
As part of the District’s no-bid $215 million contract with Intralot, $30 million was scheduled to be paid at the beginning of October. However, this payment will be on hold, following the judge’s decision.
While some Twitter users showed support for the court’s ruling, some others regarded the development as a “legal challenge” of a “further delay” in the online sports betting process.
A TRO was filed in DC on the sports betting app for the procurement process didn’t allow more qualified companies to bid. I support this
— Markus Pringle (@_HeavyP) September 27, 2019
If lawsuit is successful, it could force a rebid of the DC #sportsbetting mobile contract, causing an even further delay in the already-delayed rollout of mobile wagering. Mobile within sports venues and within 2-block radius (controlled by venue owners) would not be affected.
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) September 26, 2019
The D.C. Council approved a five-year agreement with the Athens-based gaming firm back in July for the city’s e-sports betting and lottery program in the hopes of earning $92 million in the next four years.
According to the Washington Post, some council members stated their concerns about suspending competitive bidding rules ahead of the contract, as well as some subcontractors’ ties to local politicians. In the meantime, Councilmember Jack Evans was pressing for the agreement, before being exposed for involvement in an ethics scandal.
The District legalized sports betting in late 2018. Physical sports betting locations will be licensed in the coming months. Intralot’s app was planned to come out early next year.