The District of Columbia’s sports betting plans are on hold following the decision of a court to issue a restraining order against the government of the region. Last week, Judge Joan Zeldon granted a local citizen’s request to pause the five year $215 million contract which was awarded to DC Lottery Technology provider Intralot to launch a mobile sports betting product. The first $30 million payment was set to be paid on 1 October but has since been put on hold.
DC Resident Dylan Carragher was the one who challenged the contract. Carragher launched his own mobile sports betting application and was hoping to bid on the DC Lottery betting contract.
Carragher’s suit was based on the view that the District’s Home Rule Act required a bidding process before reaching consensus. The betting legislation offered intralot an exception to the requirement. Judge Zeldon admitted that it was likely that Carragher would be successful in terms of proving that the DC Council was not following the Home Rule Act. The restraining order issued by Zeldon is valid for two weeks and the hearing is due to take place from 1 October.
A number of Council members have made statements celebrating what Zeldon has done. Mary Cheh slammed the “shoddy and unscrupulous circumstances that led to this contract.” Councilman David Grosso called the whole episode “a boondoggle from the very beginning.”
The DC Council’s Intralot decision was criticized from August when the company’s partner Veterans Services Corp (VSC) was busted for being a shell company which actually had no employees and was run by a Maryland-based employee of an Intralot subsidiary. Questions were raised about Intralot’s financial situation after the loss of a lottery contract in Turkey and their capacity to carry on operations.