DC Lottery’s Introduction of GambetDC Prompts Discussion of Sports Betting Reform

The sports betting market in Washington D.C. is expected to undergo a major transformation in 2024 as the D.C. Lottery has proposed significant changes to the current mobile app, GambetDC. The D.C. Council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development (CBED) heard the lottery’s recommendation to shift away from GambetDC as the primary sports betting app during a session held on January 18.

The lottery suggested moving on from the troubled partnership with Intralot and instead extending the contract with the third-party provider while subcontracting a private operator. This would potentially see well-known names such as BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, or FanDuel take over the reins of the District’s primary sports betting app.

The proposal to reconsider GambetDC comes as its five-year contract with Intralot approaches expiration in July 2024. Despite previous defense of the app’s potential, the recent proposal signals a shift in perspective.

During the session, CBED Chair Kenyan McDuffie expressed skepticism about the timing and lack of information provided by the lottery. Tensions escalated during exchanges between McDuffie and Frank Suarez, the lottery’s executive director, as the lottery revealed discussions with Intralot about subcontracting an operator began around November or December.

Suarez disclosed that Intralot had a preferred private operator for subcontracting but refrained from publicly revealing which one it was. This decision irked McDuffie, who questioned why the lottery greenlit Intralot’s undisclosed choice without committee input.

Critics, including representatives from major sportsbooks like DraftKings and Fanatics Sportsbook, argued for a more open and competitive market. They cited examples from states like New Hampshire, where a sole operator system is in place.

The CBED is now tasked with evaluating both proposals – the lottery’s revised plan and the possibility of an open market. With the mobile sports betting contract set to expire in July, the Council faces crucial decisions in the coming weeks and months that could redefine the sports betting landscape in Washington, D.C.