The controversial vote followed concerns that a great deal of the council members showed. Namely, the council members were worried about the five-year-long contract worth $125 million. The contract, together with Jack Evans, one of the council members, had been involved in an ethics scandal.
However, several legislators eventually voted in favor of the contract in spite of the objections about Evan’s association with the scandal. This contract allowed Intralot to impose a monopoly on online sports betting, even though the council had previously decided to adjourn competing for bidding rules.
Phil Mendelson, the Chairman of the Council, explained that, if they refused to sign the contract, it would take an additional two or three years before a new contract. He is aware that this contract will cause protests, controversies, disputes, and delays. Besides, postponing a contract for a few years would incur considerable expenses.
A number of local subcontractors who do not have a voluminous record in sports betting might take advantage of the contract. A few of those subcontractors possess political relations.
Some of the contractors are Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a former D.C. State Board of Education official, Kenyan R. McDuffie, a friend of one of the council members, as well as the law company that has urged the council to approve gambling.
The contract opponents, on the other hand, claimed that the bid was completely erroneous, and passing it would erode the trust in government. Elissa Silverman, one of the members, believes that there is something wrong with the entire situation. She claims that the council needs to regain the publics’ confidence. However, signing it will only undermine it.
Mendelson, on the other hand, claims that subcontracts who expect to benefit from the contract need not be a matter of concern. It is not the District authority that selects the subcontractors. In addition, dismissing the deal might establish additional lobbying attacks from local firms that want to obtain another contract. Mendelson explained that the District was on no account related to the subcontractors. It neither chose them or directed them, nor can it pay them out.
The council members who voted in favor of the contract were Mendelson, Robert C. White Jr., Vincent C. Gray, Anita Bonds, Jack Evans, Brandon T. Todd, and Kenyan R. McDuffie. Those who voted against the contract were Brianne K. Nadeau, Charles Allen, David Grosso, Mary M. Cheh, and Elissa Silverman. They all announced their votes prior to the meeting. Trayon White Sr. was not present due to the birth of his child.
Gray explained that his approval depended on whether legislators would direct the income obtained from sports gambling to programs for preventing violence and childhood care. However, the opponents did not vote in favor of his act and thus, renounced the necessary support. Yet, Gray voted in favor of the act, adding that he would attempt to redirect the income in the autumn.
Starting from autumn 2019, visitors and residents of the Columbia District will be able to legitimately place sports bets at sports arenas and local companies. Intralot will operate the smartphone app that should go live at the beginning of 2020. Enthusiasts and researchers claim that this will be by far the most prominent method of betting.
Silvermann, Cheh, and Grosso allege that Evans should have abstained from voting due to his private connections with William Jarvis, one of the lobbyists linked with Intralot. In his defense, Evans explained that Jarvis’s task in the company was restricted to assisting him with filing the paperwork related to establishing the company. However, the Washington Post inspected the documents which indicate that Jarvis, a lawyer by profession, arranged deals with Evan’s company and customers.
Cheh highlighted that this seemed like a conflict of interest. Namely, William Jarvis was both the lobbyist for the deal and an assistant in Evans’s consulting company. Mendelson believed that Evans did not have to refrain from voting. In fact, Evans himself stated that he would not abstain.
Jack Evans is the first to fight for licensing sports gambling in the Columbia District, as well as the act which lets Intralot fight for the deal to operate mobile sports gambling with no competition. Intralot is already running lottery in the District.
Evans and other Washington DC officials claim that the sole source contract will let the city commence tax sports gambling prior to Maryland and Virginia. None of the states have authorized sports betting yet.
FanDuel and DraftKings, the two greatest mobile sports gambling operators in the U.S., have fought against Intralot’s monopoly in the state. They claim that accessible and competitive market of authorized sports gambling operators will not only generate the most income for the capital, but it will also deliver a high-quality product to clients.
Jack Evans is currently under surveillance, which followed the investigation of his residence. What’s more, a law firm which investigated Evans discovered numerous ethics violations from the period of his presiding the Metro transit agency board. Federal officials are investigating Evans’s business deals and contracts with firms whose interests are related to the District government.
The council is determined to deprive Jack Evans of his presiding position at the Committee of Finance and Revenue. They will hire O’Melveny & Myers law firm to inspect Evans’s private company contracts as well as his activities as a public administrator.
While voting on the gambling deal was in progress and seemed so close to the positive result, Mendelson was distributing tasks of what used to be Jack Evans’s chamber to other legislators. He rejected answering reporters’ questions regarding his exchanging votes on the gambling deal for the new power of DC Council members. Pressured by Silverman, he eventually stated that he was insulted but did not disagree.
McDuffie, who initially protested against sole-sourcing Intralot and was not hesitant about the act, as well as Robert C. White Jr., who opposed the deal, were among those who received the committee tasks.
McDuffie stated on Tuesday that he changed his mind and now approves the contract. Namely, he thinks that authorities could not arrange a better deal both for the capital and its small companies. He opposed the link between his choice and the new lawmaking function. He added that he did not regard having Metro transportation agency in his domain as a personal advantage.
Income prospects from authorized sports gambling have failed to live up to expectations in the states which have already legalized it.Tags: Gambling, Washington DC