The sports betting market in Washington D.C. is on the brink of a major change as the D.C. Lottery has proposed a significant overhaul of the current mobile app, GambetDC, by 2024.

In a session held on January 18 by the D.C. Council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development (CBED), the lottery recommended moving away from GambetDC as the primary sports betting app. However, they did not advocate for a complete opening of the market to all mobile operators.

The lottery suggested extending the contract with a third-party provider but having them subcontract a private operator. This would see well-known names like BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, or FanDuel take over the District’s primary sports betting app.

This proposal comes as the five-year contract with Intralot, the current operator of GambetDC, approaches expiration in July 2024. Despite customer dissatisfaction and consistent underperformance, the lottery had previously defended the app’s potential. However, the recent proposal signals a shift in perspective.

During the session, there was skepticism about the timing and lack of information provided by the lottery. Tensions escalated during exchanges between CBED Chair Kenyan McDuffie and Frank Suarez, the lottery’s executive director.

Suarez revealed that discussions with Intralot about subcontracting an operator began in November or December, but he was unable to specify the exact start date. Intralot has a preferred private operator for subcontracting, but they have not publicly revealed who it is.

The plan suggests an extension of their contract, but the actual operation of mobile sports betting would be handed over to the subcontracted operator. Suarez believes this shift would result in a more efficient and user-friendly app. However, critics argued for a more open and competitive market, citing examples from other states.

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.

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