New Bill Would Create Competition in DC Sports Betting Market

On Oct. 24 D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman introduced a bill, the Sports Wagering Fair Competition Amendment Act of 2022, that could force Washington D.C. to allow more sports betting apps in the District. 

Right now D.C.’s sports betting laws only allow GambetDC to offer mobile sports betting outside of the other sportsbooks that are allowed inside of stadiums and retail establishments that have been licensed like Capital One Arena, Nationals Park, and Audi Field. 

Intralot which owns GambetDC was given a $215 million deal to solely run the lottery and sports betting. Unfortunately, GambetDC has had a lot of struggles and has brought tons of frustration to sports bettors in Washington D.C. 

Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, and FanDuel all have sportsbooks in D.C. but their apps are only allowed to operate inside the stadiums where they are located. 

In the bill, Silverman also points to the fact that sports betting in the District has lost $4 million instead of contributing the projected millions. She was one of the five Councilmembers that opposed the sole-source contract with Intralot. 

“We need to turn the page on this embarrassing episode,” Councilmember Silverman said in a statement. “Residents deserve an online app that works, taxpayers deserve a program that brings in money for the District, and we all deserve a system where we don’t hand huge contracts to a preferred company and its subcontractors without even looking at the competition.”

The new bill was co-introduced by three other Councilmembers: Brooke Pinto, Mary Cheh, and Charles Allen. 

DC Sports Betting Legislation Details

If the bill is passed it would allow any company to apply for a mobile sports wagering license and they would have a 15% tax rate, creating a new Class C sports betting license for privately owned apps. 

It would also terminate the existing contract with Intralot when it is set to expire in 2024. It would also introduce a competitive bidding process for future contracts around the lottery and sports betting. 

The bill would hopefully bring Washington D.C.’s sports betting market similar to that of Virginia and soon Maryland and make it a much more competitive market. 

The Problems With the GambetDC App

GambetDC launched in May 2020 and has been met with a lot of complaints and disappointment.

Earlier this year the District of Columbia Office of Lottery and Gaming received a $500,000 payout from Intralot due to app malfunctions during the Super Bowl. 

The app crashed on the day of the Super Bowl on Apple devices and stayed down past the end of the game leading to D.C. losing about $65,000 in potential revenue and taking a major reputational hit. 

The Super Bowl problems were one of the biggest malfunctions of the app. 

Users have also complained about the app’s interface being difficult to use but Intralot was working to revamp the app. 

If the new bill passes it will be welcomed by sports bettors in the District allowing each user to choose which sportsbook best suits them. It could also drastically improve the sports betting industry in D.C. as well as increase revenue. 

About the Author

Kayleigh Toney

Kayleigh Toney is a Virginia-based freelance sports writer at Maryland Sharp. She’s an avid NWSL and USWNT fan and a lifelong Virginia Tech Hokie.