Washington DC Council Takes Aim at Sole Sportsbook Licensee Gambet

  • Washington DC Council members tore into GambetDC at a public roundtable
  • Members suggested the Council cancel its contract with Greek operator Intralot
  • Added to a Super Bowl glitch, GambetDC lost the District $4m+ in revenue last year
  • OLG’s Frank Suarez has defended the deal, arguing that “the model is working”
Washington DC skyline
At a virtual public roundtable, the Washington DC Council openly criticized Intralot-operated sports betting app GambetDC. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Criticism for Gambet

Ever since its market entry a little over two years ago, the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming’s (OLG) sports wagering app GambetDC has attracted intense criticism. This week, some Washington DC Council members have taken this one step further, suggesting they nix the contract with GambetDC owner Intralot.

an online public debate on sports betting

The comments came on Wednesday after Washington DC Council Member Kenyan McDuffie hosted an online public debate on sports betting. The roundtable proved more like a boxing ring, with council members laying into GambetDC’s performance.

DC Council member Mary Che reminded the roundtable that she had challenged the contract from the beginning, adding that she believed it was “problematic” to award an entity “exclusive control.” She said: “We were told we needed a sole-source contract to hurry up and beat the other jurisdictions and all this other stuff. It was all nonsense.”

The five-year $215m deal between the DC Council and Intralot runs through July 2024. 

A list of issues

Via Twitter, McDuffie’s office shared a press release from the Council of the District of Columbia after the roundtable:

The release states that since rolling out in 2020: “D.C.’s sports betting program has experienced repeated operational challenges and has not witnessed nearly the revenue originally forecasted by the Office of the Chief of Financial Officer.”

According to the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor in September 2021, GambetDC “did not meet expectations” and lost the district over $4m in revenue for 2021. In addition, a Super Bowl issue that year saw GambetDC’s iOS app flatline a few hours before kickoff and remain offline until the following day.

Intralot and the DC Lottery negotiated a compensation package for the Super Bowl flop. The Greek gaming firm forked out $65,000 for potential wagers lost, $6,300 for a free-bet promotion, and a staggering $428,700 to help repair the betting brand’s tattered reputation.

The debate raged

At the roundtable on Wednesday, council member Elissa Silverman pulled no punches in expressing her concerns with GambetDC. She said:

We have an embarrassing sports gambling program right now that can’t even operate well on Super Bowl Sunday.”

Other user complaints have ranged from a clumsy interface to subpar odds and withdrawal issues. As Twitter user Duncan Bishop shared in May, the sportsbook even listed a fictitious MLB player in its props section:

Despite opponents of the deal favoring ditching Intralot and opening the market up, the OLG’s executive director Frank Suarez was bullish in its defense. “The ship is righting already,” Suarez said. “GambetDC handle is up significantly this year. The transfer is up.”

He added: “To me, the model is working. It took a minute. It didn’t work quite as planned … but I think everything now points to it’s working like it should and should continue to grow and provide a bigger share of the profit to the District.”

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