DC Council Split on Mobile Betting App Contract

The District is just a few months away from having legal sports betting, but some pieces are up in the air, like when the mobile app will be available.

D.C. officials hope legalized sports betting will bring in tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue.

But the council is split over whether to award the lucrative contract to operate the District’s mobile betting app to the same company that operates the lottery.

The head of the D.C. Office of Lottery and Charitable Games testified Wednesday that if the council doesn’t approve the contract next month, it could be years before D.C. could have a mobile sports betting app, which would mean the loss of millions of dollars.

“We anticipate we will be able to license qualified applicants in time to begin sport wagering in early September,” DC Lottery Executive Director Beth Bresnahan said.

She said venues like Nationals Park and Capital One Arena will be able to offer sports betting this fall no matter what the council decides about the mobile app contract.

The proposed regulations prohibit betting on D.C.-based college sports teams and television contests with judges. So, bets wouldn’t be placed on TV shows like “America’s Got Talent” or Georgetown basketball games.

“It’s the access to the local payer and the influence that betting could have on them,” Bresnahan said.

Bets on college teams outside the District, like the University of Maryland, would be allowed.

“I don’t oversee betting in Maryland,” Bresnahan said.

The D.C. Council will decide the fate of mobile sports betting July 9. The public can still weigh in on the proposed regulations on D.C.-based college teams.

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