DC Sports Betting Market Expansion Bill Survives Early Challenge

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DC sports betting

Changes to the DC sports betting market could come quickly as an amendment to strip the language from the budget failed.

The DC Council voted on budget amendments Wednesday, including one that sought to strip the proposed DC sports betting language from the bill. The language adds seven District-wide mobile licenses (federal land excluded) through its professional sports teams.

Councilmember Zachary Parker said there was no need to “fast track” the process through the budget. But the new sports betting language, proposed by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie as a standalone bill in April, will remain after the amendment to remove it failed by a 9-4 vote.

Chairman Phil Mendelson said work on finalizing the budget will continue next week but could carry into late June.

DC sports betting could change quickly

Operators applying for those new licenses could be live a week after budget approval if they meet certain conditions:

McDuffie details lottery frustrations

McDuffie scoffed at the suggestion any change to sports betting was being fast-tracked and noted multiple attempts to change the structure since the market launched in May 2020 after an initial false start.

He noted 11 hearings focused on sports wagering over the last two-plus years, including hearings on a 2022 bill and McDuffie’s bill. The process has been slowed, though, because the committee has been “blocked” by the Office of Lottery and Gaming, he added.

That includes not identifying FanDuel as Intralot’s new subcontract for months. The committee still has not seen a copy of the contract, McDuffie said.

“I did not originally set out to include the sports wagering legislation in the budget, to be clear. Our professional sports teams came to us, my team and the committee, over the course of our oversight and asked that the timeline be sped up,” McDuffie said. “They testified at a hearing last month that if we did not move expeditiously we risked closure of the retail sportsbooks due to the Intralot-Office of Lottery and Gaming new subcontract.”

Intralot partner pushing back

McDuffie’s bill is being fought by the Regional Alliance of Small Business Executives. The details of that PAC, though, suggest Intralot could be involved.

Emmanuel Bailey is listed as the chairman of the PAC. He is the CEO of Veteran Services, which owns 51% of DC09, the limited liability company that manages the District’s lottery.

Intralot owns the other 49% but has been paying the annual salary for Bailey as CEO of DC09 for years. That includes $511,411 in 2022 and $633,176 in 2021.

Neither Intralot nor Bailey responded to requests for comment.

DC sports betting kiosks remain?

Nothing in the language modifying DC sports betting affects betting kiosks at local businesses, McDuffie said.

The contract with Intralot stipulates other vendors can operate the kiosks within 15 days if Intralot stops supporting the kiosks and breaks the contract, he explained.

He also noted that some small businesses have not had working kiosks since April and that they have been given no timetable on when they will get replacements.

Staff writer Mike Mazzeo contributed to this report.

Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP