Intralot May Be Sticking Around Washington, DC Longer Than Hoped

Posted on: February 20, 2024, 02:18h. 

Last updated on: February 21, 2024, 11:09h.

Intralot, which powers Washington, D.C.’s underperforming mobile sports betting application, could remain in the nation’s capitol longer than some members of the city council hoped.

D..C Council sports betting sportsbook online
A GambetDC Sportsbook retail location is seen next to the historic Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C. DC Lottery may extend its controversial relationship with Intralot. (Image: AP)

The Greek gaming company’s no-bid contract to run the GambetDC app on behalf of DC Lottery is scheduled to end in July. But it now appears likely the lottery will renew the agreement. Under the terms of the original pact, DC Lottery has the option to renew the deal for up to five years upon expiration of the initial term.

Such renewal is likely to be for a year. But that still delays plans to potentially pair Intralot with a marquee national online sportsbook operator in hopes of improving GambetDC’s performance.

The length of the extension is not clear yet,” said Frank Suarez, head of DC Lottery, at a city council meeting last week.

Suarez believes that by extending the pact with Intralot, DC Lottery buys time to find another gaming company to work with, and potentially take over for Intralot at some point. Big names such as BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and FanDuel manage retail sportsbooks in the District, but aren’t permitted to offer mobile betting there.

Questions Abound

As noted by the Washington City Paper, DC Lottery knew its contract with Intralot expires in July, prompting criticism of the decision to slow play efforts to find a suitable replacement for Intralot.

The result of that foot-dragging is that DC Lottery now lacks adequate time in which to initiate a competitive bidding process to run the GambetDC app, meaning Intralot, much to the chagrin of betters and councilmembers, is going to linger in the city longer than many hoped.

“It would likely take the city months to write a new request for proposals, collect responses, then pick a winner. At least, if the city opts to ditch the Intralot deal, this mysterious new subcontractor can help it make more money in the meantime,” reports Alex Koma for City Paper.

Under Intralot, GambetDC has been a dud, delivering disappointing tax revenue to the city while failing bettors during marquee events. So bad has GambetDC been since its debut that today, thousands of D.C. bettors still go to Maryland or Virginia to place mobile wagers.

Probably Time to Send Intralot Packing

Before rolling out the Gambet sports wagering platform, DC Lottery entered a $215 million agreement with Intralot. That was widely criticized, because the contract wasn’t put out to bid. Buyers’ remorse on that deal surfaced soon thereafter, and has lingered for a couple of years.

As the City Paper pointed out, it would be logical for DC Lottery to simply let the contract with Intralot expire and stop paying the company while commencing a thorough search for a replacement.

“But the longer the city keeps trying to preserve the status quo with Intralot and company, the farther away any real change looks,” observed Koma. The Loose Lips (LL) column “can easily imagine a scenario where the lottery marginally improves revenues and keeps extending its deal with its existing partners, particularly if politicians remain content to ignore this issue.”