Tensions Flare Among DC Sports Betting Contractors -- Report - Newstbt.com
The documents reported on Wednesday revealed that, although the sports betting rollout in Washington DC fell short of its revenue targets, the executive responsible for it was still paid generously, causing contention between those involved in the program.
Pictured is a view of the Washington Monument in Washington D.C., surrounded by tensions of the struggling launch of the local gambling app, GambetDC. This app was formed through a collaboration of Intralot, a Greek gaming services company, and Veterans Services Corp., a lottery subcontractor in the Washington area, as an exclusive alternative to the established players, such as DraftKings. The documents acquired by Axios demonstrate Intralot’s frustration with the annual payments of at least $1.4 million to VSC, alongside the app’s dismal execution. (image: sportshandle.com)
Byron Boothe, the former CEO of Intralot US, wrote to DC lottery officials in a letter dated 2022 that “the salary of the principal of VSC (Unknown) is seven times higher than that of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser ($220K last year), with no corresponding duties or performance.” Intralot was “reluctantly” paying the contract with VSC, and Boothe further claimed that VSC was “nowhere close to completing 51% of the contracted work with their own resources,” though he didn’t expand on the remark. Axios reported this correspondence, which has implied criticisms and shortcomings about the VSC and its principal.
Criticisms and Shortcomings
In January, Intralot chair Nikolaos Nikolakopoulos took up criticism of VSC in a letter to officials in the Washington, DC, small business community, citing criticisms raised by Intralot CEO Henry Boothe that VSC’s shortcomings were causing problems for Intralot. In response, Nikolakopoulos wrote a letter to DC officials a mere two weeks later. Shortly afterwards, on February 15th, Intralot announced that Nikolaos was set to replace Henry Boothe as CEO, yet Boothe was to remain at the company as a strategic consultant. Requests for comment to Intralot, VSC, and the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming have gone unanswered thus far. This public dispute is part of a far-reaching line of problems that have been surfacing ever since DC legalized sports betting in 2018; GambetDC was authorized by the City Council last year, under a no-bid contract orchestrated by Intralot, with the already-controversial VSC owning a majority 51% stake.
GambetDC has had a tumultuous existence since its launch, most notably with its crash during the 2022 Super Bowl. The app brought in $2.7 million in 2022, significantly less than the projected $27 million estimated for its first year. This failure led Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) to create a bill last year, which would have ended the Intralot contract and opened DC’s sports betting market to private competitors as Virginia and Maryland had done in the past. However, the Council wasn’t able to pass the bill, and Silverman lost her reelection race in November. Another council member has shown interest in the legislation since then.
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