On Monday, a new bill was introduced by D.C. Council member Elissa Silverman. The new piece of legislation could put an end to the betting monopoly held by Intralot, potentially opening the District’s betting market to operators like FanDuel and DraftKings.
Mobile sports betting in D.C. has been criticized for some time as the only mobile betting operations that were allowed since sports gambling legalization in 2019 included the District’s own GambetDC app. If the bill is passed, this could introduce some competition into the gambling scene in D.C.
New Bill Could Terminate Intralot Monopoly Over District’s Sports Betting
According to Silverman, the bill could bring new life to sports betting in the District by putting an end to the current monopoly. With the introduction of more actors in the scene, punters can have multiple apps to choose from for their mobile wagering.
If the bill gets approved, it will cease the current contract with Intralot, which is due to expire in 2024. That would force the city to consider competitive bids from multiple operators that could expand the mobile betting market in D.C.
Sports betting was legalized in D.C. in December 2018 and it took only several months for Intralot to become the only operator authorized to offer mobile betting in the District. The operator signed a $215 million contract without going through any bidding process. The Greek company that gained a monopoly over online sports gambling in the District is also the operator of the lottery in the city. Following the no-bid contract, Intralot introduced GambetDC, which is still the only betting app licensed to operate in the District.
GambetDC App Showing Disappointing Results During Its First Fiscal Year
The exclusive sports betting app quickly earned negative reviews from users as bettors in D.C. were complaining about the poor odds offered by the bookie, giving GambetDC a much bigger advantage over its patrons.
In addition to non-competitive odds, the app also experienced plenty of technical and geolocational issues, with one example being the crash of the platforms during the major Super Bowl game this year.
Due to a mistake in the software handling, just before the Super Bowl, all Apple users were unable to place bets on one of the biggest sporting events for bettors and football fans. Following the embarrassing mishap, Intralot had to pay the D.C. Lottery compensation of $500,000.
The Super Bowl incident was just one example of the continuous failures of the operator, which could not deliver the numbers the Office of Lottery and Gaming had predicted for GambetDC. Earlier prognosis promised sports betting revenue of $26 million for the fiscal year 2021. However, in its first fiscal year as an exclusive operator of mobile sports betting, GambetDC experienced a $4 million loss. Considering the extremely high house edge due to the unfavorable odds, these results were surprisingly bad.
According to Silverman, residents of the District deserve a better online sports betting experience, with taxpayers’ money contributing to far better revenue for the city. The Council member also believed this can be achieved if there is fair competition between competent bidders instead of giving contracts to a favored company.