Another monkey wrench was thrown into the process of getting sports betting legalized in Washington D.C. as a mobile app developer filed a legal complaint against the district’s council for awarding a no-bid contract to Intralot.
Intralot’s contract has come under repeated scrutiny after the D.C. Council awarded the gaming company a contract without competition to become the area’s lottery and sports betting operator.
In the legal complaint, Dylan Carragher, a mobile app developer, is asking the D.C. Superior Court to nullify the city’s contract with Intralot, opening the bidding for the city’s sports betting operator services to all interested parties.
“The city needs to follow its procurement laws, certainly, and the process should be competitive and open,” said Donald Temple, Carragher’s attorney handling the complaint.
“That would allow not only our clients, but others who own sports bars and others like that, to compete in the marketplace for what is going to be a very lucrative business opportunity.”
The complaint by Carragher is another slice of legal controversy that could delay the targeted date of January 2020 to bring betting to the district.
For citizens like Carragher, the no-bid contract awarded to Intralot violates a series of laws and requirements that large public contracts must subcontract work to a local business.
The Intralot contract, worth $215 million, is subject to following along with these laws but the company’s proposed subcontractor for the lottery and sports betting, DC09, has come under fire because it is owned by Intralot.
In a recent investigation by The Washington Post, the newspaper also found that Intralot’s main subcontractor, Veterans Services Corp. “had no employees and that its website touted executives who didn’t work there.”
News of the Intralot association to the subcontractor, caused council members such as Elissa Silverman to wonder if the contract should be voided due to the new information uncovered by the Post.
Silverman’s ire drew even more heated when the district’s director of compliance, Kristi Whitfield, told the council that the arrangement was legal and compliant with city law.
“I read the response to say they’re in compliance if on paper it shows that at least 35 percent of the money is going to this company, and we really aren’t concerned whether it’s a real company, or there are employees, or whether local businesses and District residents actually benefit,” Silverman said.
“Our residents are growing more cynical about how our government operates, and this is a perfect example that their cynicism is valid.”
Intralot’s association with the DC09 subcontractor is a typical workaround in municipalities that don’t stringently enforce competition laws. But for mobile app developers like Carragher with a specialty in sports betting apps, the law has been broken.
The continued legal woes of the Intralot contract has put the January 2020 date in jeopardy and if the D.C. Superior Court judge grants discovery on Carragher’s complaint, then there is a slim chance that eager bettors in the district will get a shot to bet on the Super Bowl.
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