Court Rejects District’s No-bid Sports Offer Dealing critical Blow To Legal Challenge

Sports betting is back on track in the Columbia District after a judge refused to stop the contentious contract with tech provider Intralot by the DC Lottery.

Judge John Campbell released Friday’s decision, upholding the District’s claim that granting the contract was within its purview and thus making D.C. Lottery to continue implementing it. The decision by Campbell ends a temporary restraining order issued by Judge Joan Zeldon after D.C. on Sept. 26. Resident Dylan Carragher filed a No-Bid Contract case against the District on 17 September. The case itself is going to continue.

Donald Temple of Temple Law Office, who is representing Carragher in the suit,said in an email Friday to the Washington Business Journal: “The D.C. judge essentially ruled that the District Council implicitly amended its procurement laws, despite the absence of any amendment language anywhere in the record.”

He has said he was planning to appeal the decision of Campbell: “Otherwise, D.C. is in a bad space in terms of public accountability.”

D.C. Lottery said the Intralot contract is now planning to move forward. “We are pleased with the judge’s decision and are fully focused on resuming the modernisation of the Lottery and implementation of sports wagering in the District,” Lottery spokeswoman Nicole Jordan said in an email Friday to the WBJ. “The lawsuit prevented us from working for 24 days. We will regroup and provide updated information in the upcoming weeks.”

Carragher alleges in his lawsuit that the no-bid contract of Intralot is in violation of the Federal Home Rule Act and the D.C. 2010 Acquisition Process Implementation Act. Carragher, who developed a sports and sports wagering web application, claims the D.C. Through bypassing the procurement process, the Council and the Chief Financial Officer unlawfully granted Intralot the five-year deal.

That claim has been dismissed by the D.C. Lottery, telling the Washington Business Journal that the agreement “meets every District legal and regulatory requirement.”

In its brief to the court, the District argued that Carragher “falls far short of proving such an entitlement of such extraordinary relief” to request the preliminary injunction. “Most significantly, plaintiff has not established an imminent risk of irreparable harm because he has not alleged that he could satisfy the requirements of the contract, nor can plaintiff demonstrate taxpayer injury or violation of the law,” the brief read.

The Sports Wagering Procurement Practice Reform Exemption Act of 2019, which awarded Intralot the contract to operate the District’s sports betting platform was passed by the D.C. Council in February.

After much debate among members about the complexity of the award process, the council narrowly adopted the terms of the contract by a 7-5 vote in July. Both D.C. Lottery and the Chief Financial Officer’s office argued for the need to speed up acquisition in order to advance future sports betting competition in neighbouring Maryland and Virginia, although no attempt has yet been made by either state to enter the market.

Carragher and the District now need to send a joint briefing schedule for the case until next week before a formal conference on Dec. 20.

D.C. Lottery originally, had planned to launch District sports betting in January 2020.