Washington, DC approves sports betting bill

20 February 2019
On Tuesday, the D.C. Council passed legislation on sports wagering. The bill paves the way for Intralot, the D.C. Lottery operator, to become the provider of a sports betting app rather than going through a bidding process. This means that not only will brick-and-mortar facilities be able to have sports betting in their establishments, but online sports wagering will also be legal.
The motion to legalize sports gambling was brought up in September 2018, followed by a hearing the next month. It was approved by the Council on 4 and 18 December. The topic was then postponed regarding the implementation of sports betting to yesterday’s legislative meeting, when it was officially approved for the district.
Once Mayor Muriel Bowser signs the legislation, the District expects to hold discussions with Intralot to finalize a contract.
Not everyone was in favor of the bill — four members of the council voted against it due to concerns with Intralot. This vote came just two weeks after the bill originally passed on a 7-6 vote.
David Grosso, a D.C. Councilmember, was among those against the bill. He referred to approving the legislation as “a rush to tax the poor” and pointed out that Intralot is “a company that was recently downgraded by Moody’s" and also that since 2014, Intralot’s DC affiliate DC09 and its leadership have contributed over $41,000 to DC campaigns and inaugural committees.
"That is why, today, I’ll be voting against this emergency declaration, and the underlying bill, as a vote against Intralot’s rating downgrade, a vote against streamlining a tax on the poor and a vote against pay-to-play, and urge my colleagues to do the same," he concluded in a lengthy Twitter thread.

The goal, unless a serious issue arises, is to have legal bets being placed on professional sports as early as this fall in time for the 2019 NFL season.

Dan Ippolito

Articles by As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.