DC judge refuses to block sketchy Intralot sports betting contract


district-columbia-intralot-sports-betting-courtSports betting is (for the moment, at least) back on track in the District of Columbia (D.C.) after a court refused to halt the D.C. Lottery’s controversial deal with tech provider Intralot.

On Friday, D.C. Superior Court Judge John Campbell refused to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the controversial no-bid $215m contract issued to Greek lottery and betting technology provider Intralot to operate D.C.’s online and mobile sports betting monopoly.

Late last month, a different D.C. judge issued a temporary restraining order on Intralot’s deal based on a request by  resident Dylan Carragher, a software developer who filed a lawsuit to force the district to hold a competitive tender for the betting contract.

The contract was awarded after D.C. Council members approved legislation exempting the betting tech deal from D.C.’s Home Rule Act, which requires a competitive bidding process for local government contracts. The move was highly controversial, given the Council’s history of doling out goodies to Intralot like it has naked photos of Council members.

Judge Campbell justified his refusal to honor Carragher’s injunction request by saying he didn’t think Carragher’s lawsuit will succeed. Campbell added that “it clearly and unquestionably was within the Council’s authority” to waive the competitive bidding requirement. Carragher has already indicated that he will appeal Campbell’s ruling, so the action now shifts to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

While betting legislation assigned District-wide digital betting rights to the D.C. Lottery, local sports venues and clubs were allowed to operate retail sportsbooks as well as mobile wagering within a two-block radius of their venues.

This month, the U.S. division of U.K. bookmaker William Hill announced plans to open the nation’s first in-stadia sportsbook at Capital One Arena, the home field for Washington’s NBA, NHL and WNBA franchises.