DC Court Temporarily Suspends Intralot Sports Betting Contract

  • A D.C. judge ruled in favor of freezing the Intralot sports betting contract for two weeks
  • Allegations that awarding the contract to the Greek company was a violation of federal law
  • Judge Joan Zeldon believes there is a strong argument that this is the case
  • The next hearing will take place on October 1
Judge gavel on a table.
Sports betting in Washington, D.C. has been put on hold following a court ruling in relation to a no-bid contract. [Image: Shutterstock]

Suspension in place

A District of Columbia Superior Court judge has placed a temporary suspension on the no-bid contract that authorities awarded to Intralot.

This means that the launch of online sports betting in the region will be put back.

Judge Joan Zeldon was presiding over this hearing on September 26. In her ruling, she said there is a “substantial likelihood” that plaintiff Dylan Carragher can successfully prove that there was in fact a violation of federal law.

Reaction to the ruling

Donald Temple is the lawyer for Carragher and he was surprised by the order from the judge. He labeled it as being a “monumental” decision before questioning what will happen next.

Now the real question is, if it’s illegal, whether the city is going to continue to defend that which is illegal, or are they going to reconcile the illegality of their actions?”

The order from the judge to suspend the Intralot contract will be reviewed by the D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine. There has been no comment from this office as there is pending litigation.

According to a D.C. Lottery spokesperson, this order means that the modernization efforts of lottery operations across D.C. retailers will now be put on hold.

Two-week suspension

There will be a restraining order on the Intralot sports betting contract for the next two weeks. There will be a hearing taking place on October 1 relating to Carragher’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

This order only covers progress for mobile sports betting in Washington D.C. It will not be affecting retail sports betting launching in the likes of arenas and sports stadiums in the district.

Background to this case

Greek gaming firm Intralot is set to manage the online sports betting space in Washington D.C. Intralot won the $215m contract without a competitive bidding process. The company already operates the D.C. Lottery.

The D.C. Council suspended the rules for competitive bidding to allow Intralot to win this contract. This decision was highly controversial.

There have been subsequent claims about potential conflicts of interest between lawmakers and Intralot subcontractors.

Intralot won the $215m contract without a competitive bidding process

The developer of a sports betting app, Dylan Carragher, filed legal action in relation to the awarding of this contract without a competitive bidding process. He believes that other parties should have a chance to bid for this lucrative business.

There is also an argument that the residents of D.C. could have benefitted from a competitive process as taxpayers could have gotten a better deal. Carragher argued that the awarding of the contract was a violation of federal laws.

Temple was previously involved in a lawsuit in relation to the district’s lottery contract about a decade ago. This saw his client obtaining a settlement of $3.5m in 2017 for his wrongful termination.