DC Lawmaker Takes No Prisoners With Online Sports Betting Act ‘Reboot’

  • The bill will allow FanDuel, DraftKings et al. to compete with ailing GambetDC app
  • It would set tax at 15%, which is comparative with Maryland and Virginia
  • The bill also proposes to end the contract with GambetDC owner Intralot in 2024
  • Intralot’s app lost DC over $4m in revenue for 2021 and flatlined at Super Bowl LV
Council of the D of Columbia
A DC lawmaker has called time on the District’s online sports betting program by introducing a new bill and stating: “We need to turn the page on this embarrassing episode.” [Image: Shutterstock.com]

‘Embarrassing episode’

District of Columbia Councilmember Elissa Silverman has called time on DC’s beleaguered online sports betting program, stating: “We need to turn the page on this embarrassing episode.”

“reboot” the District’s online wagering program

On Monday, the DC lawmaker introduced a hard-hitting bill that would “reboot” the District’s online wagering program. Via Twitter, Silverman’s Office shared the new legislation’s prime aim of creating a competitive mobile market:

Silverman’s Sports Wagering and Fair Competition Amendment Act of 2022 would allow for the US’s most prolific sports betting brands to compete for a slice of DC’s online and mobile market share, alongside the “poor performing GambetDC app.”

Under the legislation, any company can apply for online and mobile sports betting app licenses in DC. It would set tax at 15%, which is comparative with Maryland and Virginia.

Intralot in Council’s sights

Exposing GambetDC to the harsh light of criticism and competition is part of a pincer move on the DC Council’s part. Silverman hopes to both create an open market and confront the firm in control of the District’s online and mobile sports betting programs, namely Gambet’s Greek owner Intralot.

The DC Lottery in 2019 negotiated a five-year, sole-source contract with Intralot, which even back then drew criticism from the Council for bypassing the procurement process. Intralot manages both the GambetDC app and holds the contract for the city’s lottery.

Silverman took to Twitter on Monday with a call to reboot and a reminder that the exclusive Intralot deal with DC Lottery was “controversial from the get-go.”

The new legislation proposes DC Lottery ends the contract with Intralot in 2024.

Shaky, flaky performances

Mumbles about GambetDC’s anemic offering surfaced in September 2021, shortly after the app launched in July. The Office of the District of Columbia Auditor declared in an audit that the app’s performance was well below expectations, losing the district over $4m in revenue for 2021. This annus horribilis for DC sports bettors included the GambetDC app going on the fritz during Super Bowl LV.

In July, the Council got its knives out for Intralot, with some lawmakers calling for the cancellation of the Intralot contract.

Residents deserve an online app that works”

Silverman summed up the need for a new-look playing field by stating in a news release: “Residents deserve an online app that works, taxpayers deserve a program that brings in money for the District.”