The public comment period on sports betting regulations closed in Washington, D.C. on July 15, and according to a spokesperson from the Office of the Lottery and Charitable Games, Lottery staff will review the comments and determine if any merit inclusion.
“The Lottery plans to incorporate some of the comments received into the final rules,” OLCG Director of Marketing and Communications Nicole Jordan told Sports Handle via e-mail Monday. “The changes largely serve to provide further clarification on the proposed rules and will not fundamentally change the rules as initially proposed.”
There does not appear to be a set date for the release of final regulations. Jordan said the D.C. Council does not need to sign off on the final regulations, which will become “effective when they are published in the D.C. Register.”
Public comments aren’t readily available to public
The month-long public-comment period closed a week ago, but ironically the comments are not available on the Lottery or any other official D.C. website. A Freedom of Information Act request must be filed in order to get a copy of the public comments.
The controversy surrounding D.C.’s sports betting contract is achingly unsurprising, the Editorial Board writes. https://t.co/Dp5t8s6iSl
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) July 22, 2019
The D.C. Council legalized sports betting in December, and after choosing to bypass the bid process, decided that current Lottery vendor Intralot would also be its mobile sports betting vendor. The Council in early July approved Intralot’s contract, a key step toward launching sports betting.
During the July 9 meeting, the Council voted, 7-5, to approve a mobile sports betting contract with Intralot, and the deciding vote was cast by embattled Councilmember Jack Evans, who championed and pushed through legal sports betting last fall, but has since been relieved of his duties as chairman of the D.C. Council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue, and is under investigation. The $215 mm Intralot contract has received plenty of attention, as it appears that it benefits multiple people who have connections to the Council.
The Lottery is clearly making some progress toward a sports betting launch, as a new “sports betting” tab recently appeared on the Lottery website. A December 2018 study by Spectrum Gaming Group and the proposed regulations are available under the tab.
D.C. is the first jurisdiction in its immediate region to legalize sports betting, as both Maryland and Virginia failed to do so during their legislative sessions. But West Virginia legalized in the summer of 2018, and bettors can legally wager in nearby Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
According to testimony from Lottery Executive Director Beth Bresnahan during a June roundtable discussion, the Lottery is aiming to issue licenses in September. The goal from the start has been launch sports betting sometime this fall.