By Mark Gallagher
As the rest of the country hustles to approve sports betting, the District of Columbia is taking its old sweet time.
Yesterday, DC Council President Phil Mendelson opened the Committee of the Whole’s public hearing by announcing Jack Evans’ resignation and reading the councilman’s letter to him, which Mendelson said he received just minutes before the hearing began.
“I believe Washington, DC to be the pride of the nation and I am proud of the contributions I have made in helping to create a vibrant city,” Evans wrote.
Evans’s resignation takes effect on Jan. 17.
Because of Evans’s letter, Mendelson recessed the hearing for two weeks.
Evans was the primary sponsor of the legislation that legalized sports betting in the District more than a year ago. He also helped push through the sole-source contract for Intralot to manage the DC Lottery’s sports betting operations in July. That contract has since received significant scrutiny, as questions have arisen about Intralot’s sports betting subcontractors.
The contract also faces a court challenge.
While the DC Lottery will oversee sports betting, the law also allows for other operators to participate.
The District’s four major arenas and stadiums, including Capital One Area, Nationals Park, and Audi Field, will be allowed to host a sportsbook on their premises. Restaurants, bars, and other public places outside of a two-block radius from the stadiums will also be allowed to pursue sports betting licenses.
Monumental Sports and Entertainment, owners of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, have announced a partnership with William Hill at Capital One Arena. The DC United of MLS reportedly have been in talks with Caesars Entertainment.
The DC Lottery has not yet approved any licenses.