The government for the District of Columbia (DC) has reportedly been issued with a temporary injunction that prevents it from implementing a contract that was due to see prominent gaming solutions innovator, Intralot SA, assist in the running of its coming mobile sportsbetting service.
According to a Thursday report from The Washington Post newspaper, the two-week freeze was handed out by Judge Joan Zeldon from the DC Superior Court in response to a lawsuit filed by a local resident upset at the no-compete nature of the $215 million deal with the Greek firm.
January reportedly saw the mayor for the federal jurisdiction, Muriel Bowser, put her signature to legislation that was to see Intralot SA serve as the ‘sole-sourcing’ partner for the DC Lottery as it rolled out land-based and mobile sportsbetting services. The Athens-listed giant already helps to run the district’s lottery while the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act controversially suspended normal competitive bidding rules to unilaterally extend this relationship to all forms of sports wagering.
However, the lawsuit from Dylan Carragher, who is the founder of a local sportsbetting technology business, reportedly argues that the no-bid aspect of the legislation violated the Home Rule Act as it simply handed the lucrative contract to Intralot and prevented his firm from taking part. He also purportedly contends that the measure has harmed taxpayers as it has stopped the city from securing the best possible deal and could lead to residents paying over the odds.
In issuing the provisional restriction, Judge Zeldon declared that there is a ‘substantial likelihood’ that Carragher’s lawsuit will be able to demonstrate that DC officials had violated the Home Rule Act, which is a 1973 piece of legislation that gave the city of some 702,000 residents a measure of local government. She moreover ordered representatives from both sides of the legal case to appear before a Tuesday hearing where the request for a preliminary injunction will be discussed.
The Washington Post reported that the DC Lottery had hoped to begin offering mobile sportsbetting from January but that the injunction along with the real prospects of a subsequent court case could see this launch date put back by many months.
Donald Temple, who is Carragher’s attorney, reportedly told the newspaper that he was ‘prayerfully surprised’ by Judge Zeldon’s order before going on to describe the nature of the jurisdiction’s contract with Intralot SA as ‘illegal.’
“Now the real question is, if it’s illegal, whether the city is going to continue to defend that which is illegal or is it going to reconcile the illegality of its actions.”
In responding to Judge Zeldon’s ruling, DC Council Chairperson, Phil Mendelson, reportedly told the newspaper that the district will ultimately prevail as the injunction was issued simply a way to ‘buy time for the parties to brief this and for the court to figure this out.’
“The argument by the plaintiff focuses on an arcane reading of the Home Rule Act and it’s an incorrect reading.”