DC's gambling operator feuding with GamebetDC subcontractor: report

A new report is shedding some light on the deficiencies surrounding sports wagering in the District of Columbia.

The GambetDC app has faced years of scrutiny for not working, and not delivering for District residents. The report by Axios says contractors are getting paid nonetheless.

For many, GamebetDC just hasn’t met expectations.

In December 2018, D.C. somewhat controversially decided to award a contract to an exclusive sports betting provider without having much of a competitive bidding process. There were reports in the first full year that the lottery lost $4 million.

The D.C. Lottery said things improved, but bettors still opt to place wagers in Maryland and Virginia among more reputable companies.

Despite the issues, the Axios report says one of the D.C.-based subcontracted companies still collected a $1.4 million dollar annual paycheck.

"All these other states, they let private apps in. In D.C. they force you," explained Axios reporter Cuneyt Dil. "The salary is $1.4 million, a huge payout for someone whose firm isn’t performing well."

So what’s the issue here?

D.C. has a law that states 35% of contracts must go to local businesses. But the auditor says there aren’t a lot of local companies that have expertise in running sports betting operations. 

The D.C. Auditor issued a report in 2021 saying that the District and the lottery need to do a better job of vetting contractors and subcontractors and communicating with each other.

"The lottery is a very expensive endeavor," said D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson. "It does bring in money, but it’s a pretty expensive endeavor, and there’s a way to make sure that we’re getting value for dollars. And that’s one of the reasons to clarify the law; to clarify who’s doing what, and for the agencies to make sure that work is being done for funding that’s being provided, and this contract itself is probably not one that they should repeat. They probably should have a much tighter contract the next time around."


DC councilmember looks to expand mobile sports betting

Big changes could be in store for the District’s sports wagering program.

The contract is up in 2024.

FOX 5 tried reaching the company that runs the District’s sports betting, Intralot – the contractor collecting over a million dollars annually, according to Axios and did not hear back. The same subcontractor was recently approved for a sports betting license in Maryland.

The Maryland Lottery said they vetted this company which was "responsible and financially viable," but they would not share any specifics.

FOX 5 also reached out to the D.C. Lottery, and they are working on getting us a statement.