If you’re wondering why officials in the District of Columbia are so eager to award a nine-figure gaming contract to Intralot, you’re not alone.
The DC Council Committee of the Whole held a public roundtable Wednesday to discuss the proposed $215 million deal with the struggling operator based in Greece.
Procurement would cover lottery sales and sports betting for five years after members previously voted to approve the sole-source framework pushed by Councilmember Jack Evans.
The motives of Evans and other city officials have come under scrutiny, though, spawning accusations of political favoritism and impropriety.
Members of the council must now decide whether to move forward with Intralot or delay implementation. That would leave DC sports betting solely to the district’s four approved sports venues at initial launch.
Testifying as a member of the public, Councilmember John Ray provided the strongest pushback. As he sees it, the sports betting component was nothing more than a “generous tip to the sole-source winner” of the lottery contract.
Ray poked holes in a few aspects of the proposed partnership, including the financial stability of Intralot. All three major credit bureaus downgraded the company’s rating multiple times over the past year.
“How much money is it costing the district to finance this very weak financial company?… If you learned the retirement board was investing your money in Intralot, would you be happy? Would you buy Intralot shares? If the answer to that is no, why would you ask the District taxpayers to invest their money in Intralot? Mister Chairman, you need to take a serious look at this contract.”