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DC Lottery, which will serve players in Washington DC, has finally launched its online sports betting platform after a whole host of delays. 

However, the accompanying mobile app has once again been pushed back – this time until some stage this month. 

The Gambet DC platform’s sports betting offerings were developed in partnership with Intralot, and going live last night was named as the ‘soft launch’. 

Users within the jurisdiction of the US capital now have the ability to open an account via the Gambet website and wager on sports. 

A lengthy wait 

Sports betting has been included in state legislation since January 2019, when D.C. Act 22-594 was signed into law by Mayor Muriel Bowser. 

Online sports betting had been scheduled to go live in DC this March. However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, that was pushed back. 

The mobile app has been delayed again due to the ongoing spread of the virus. 

Most sporting events in the US remain suspended for now, but there are opportunities for players to bet elsewhere. Examples include the Bundesliga, Germany’s main soccer division, and the soon-to-return Premier League in England. 

District of Columbia Office of Lottery and Gaming’s executive director Beth Bresnahan acknowledged that things might start slowly. But at the same time, she believes now is ideal for preparing when US sport picks up again. 

She said the following.

“Our team at the DC Lottery is excited to introduce GambetDC, which will serve to modernize our product portfolio and assist in our mission to maximise the revenue returned to support the District’s vital programs and services.”

“While we recognise there will be a limited number of events to wager on at this time, this soft launch will provide us with an opportunity to roll out the Gambet DC wagering website to potential players in the District and be best prepared for sports wide scale return to play.”

DC players to receive a fulfilling sports betting experience

Intralot Group Chief Executive Chris Diamitriadis also spoke about the launch of online sports betting in DC. His thoughts were as follows. 

“Our state-of-the-art digital sports betting platform, Intralot Orion, will allow players in the District of Columbia to enjoy the convenience of easily wagering anytime, anywhere allowed, while offering them an unparalleled gaming experience. 

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the DC Lottery and providing them with our next-generation portfolio and advanced services to drive its performance and accelerate its growth.”

End of an ongoing dispute? 

In February 2020, mobile app developer Dylan Carragher challenged the District. He was disgruntled about Intralot’s contract with DC Lottery being extended without a bidding process. 

Carragher felt that the deal was a violation of the Home Rule Act. This legislation establishes the powers of Washington DC. 

A temporary restraining order to suspend the Intralot contract was issued in September 2019 until there was an injunction decision. But last October, this was denied and Intralot was allowed to continue developing the now-partially-launched sports betting platform. 

Not a new activity for Washingtonians

While legalized online sports betting is now officially live in DC, it has been argued that individuals here already have some experience in said activity. 

Casey Clark, SVP of Strategic Communications for the American Gaming Association (AGA), had the following to say. 

“This isn’t a new activity for Washingtonians; just doing it legally is a new activity.

“You’ll have a lot more options than people expect going on the first time. 

“I think people will continue to go in and place a bet on the Caps to win the Stanley Cup, but I don’t know that they’re going to understand all the miscellaneous options.”

Clark also warned about players who might look at this as a means to get rich. He said that this is “adult entertainment, and should be treated as such”. To protect players in the US, the AGA launched its ‘Have a Game Plan’ initiative last year. 

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