Washington, DC Sports Betting Faces Another Legal Challenge

  • Developer of a sports betting app claims that the no-bid contract process is illegal
  • He is seeking a temporary restraining order on the district's contract with Intralot
  • The man argues that there legally has to be a competitive bidding process for such contracts
  • A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Thursday
The U.S. Capitol Building in late twilight and horizontal perspective.
Dylan Carragher has filed a lawsuit against the awarding of a no-bid sports betting contract in Washington, D.C. [Image: Shutterstock]

Latest legal action

An app developer who resides in Washington, D.C. has called for a temporary restraining order to be imposed on the district’s sports betting contract with Intralot.

The district awarded a $215m no-bid contract to Intralot in order to set up sports betting in the region. This contract was awarded in July and has been the cause of a lot of controversies.

district awarded a $215m no-bid contract to Intralot

Dylan Carragher is the man calling for the temporary restraining order. He is the creator of a mobile sports betting app and wants to be a part of the sports betting launch in the district.

Legal argument

Carragher’s argument is that the no-bid contract is illegally preventing him and other vendors from being able to participate in this lucrative sports betting market. He claims it is illegal under the self-government Home Rule Act.

As per this lawsuit, he argues that the District Office of the Chief Financial Officer has to follow the procurement laws in Washington, D.C. which ensure that there is a competitive bidding process for contracts.

Donald Temple is the attorney for Carragher in this civil matter. He says:

If the contract is illegal, the government should not be allowed to continue to proceed, knowing that it is an illegal contract.”

If a judge sides with Carragher, this could result in Intralot’s first $30m payment – due on October 1 – being blocked. This case will be dealt with by the D.C. Superior Court.

There will not be any comment from the D.C. Attorney General’s Office on this issue due to the ongoing litigation. There will be a preliminary hearing for this lawsuit on Thursday.

Lots of controversy

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the legalization of sports betting in Washington, D.C.

The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act was initially introduced in December 2018 and it quickly received support. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the bill into law on January 22 after it gained legislative approval.

The first controversy was the awarding of the sports betting contract to Intralot without a competitive bidding process. This means that Intralot will be the sole provider of sports betting in the district, outside of the four main sporting arenas. These arenas can obtain their own sportsbook operators.

Potential conflicts of interest

There have also been allegations that politicians close to the awarding of this contract have conflicts of interest.

Jack Evans, a veteran D.C. Council member, was the sponsor of the bill. He is currently facing a federal investigation for ethics violations. It has been reported that Evans has links with some of the subcontractors chosen by Intralot.

A number of the subcontractors have been facing scrutiny, with the Veterans Services Corporation not even having any employees, according to The Washington Post.