The District of Columbia (Washington DC) City Council has determined that an emergency action is not necessarily the best way to implement its effort to legalize sports betting in the US capitol. After initially deciding that the DC Lottery should take the reigns and make placing a wager on the Nationals as easy as buying a lottery ticket.

Council members decided on Tuesday to slow their roll and open the DC sports betting market to outside vendors in an effort to throw a little transparency on the sports betting venture. Besides generally not wanting to rush into a big venture like this, the Council also decided that the contract should be put up for bids, which is standard practice for city contracts across the United States.

Initially, DC’s homegrown politicians were ready to get to market as quickly as possible and embraced the plan to have the DC Lottery run the whole show. DC Lottery Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWitt had presented the plan to council members as a way to get ahead of neighboring states like Maryland that compete for revenue with the municipality in the crowded Northeastern Corridor and should be rushed like an emergency. (Though it should be noted that Washington DC is not a US state.)

That initial enthusiasm waned as council members realized that there really wasn’t a financial emergency in the city that warranted the suspension of rules designed to increase transparency and reduce graft.

Council members who worried about losing revenue to Maryland were countered by council members who urged them not to be in such a rush that rush into something that hasn’t been fully thought out. There’s currently no word on when a city contract for regulated sports betting will be posted.


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