DC’s Sports Betting Market Still Underwhelms, Despite Gains

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Washington, DC had a good month last month in terms of sports betting activity, but still has a long way to go if it wants to be taken seriously. The October handle was up for the second month in a row; however, revenue was down considerably.

DC Still Struggles to Figure Out Sports Betting

October was a record-setting month for DC as its sports betting handle reached a new high. $26.3 million was spent on sports bets across the month, 42.2% more than a year earlier. The figure also vastly outpaced September’s handle of $20.7 million, which had also set a new record.

Leading the charge was Caesars Entertainment, which has now rebranded the existing William Hill sportsbook in the district following its acquisition of the company earlier this year. Caesars reported a handle of $19.1 million, capitalizing on its retail sportsbook at Capital One Arena, as well as its mobile sports betting platform available within a short, three-block radius of the arena.

BetMGM saw a handle of $1.51 million, which is surprisingly low for the company. Grand Central Restaurant, Bar and Sportsbook, the latest arrival to the DC sports betting market, saw a handle of $208,355 as it began ramping up operations last month.

A shocking second-place finish was secured by DC’s own GambetDC, which saw a handle of $5.5 million. Its performance, however, was driven by the fact that GambetDC is available everywhere in the district – all other sportsbooks are geographically limited.

Handle Up, but Revenue Plummets

Even though DC had a record-setting handle in October, the district’s sportsbooks didn’t reap a lot of benefits. The total revenue reported by the books was $1.6 million, 54.3% less than a year earlier and 57.9% less than September’s performance.

Caesars reported revenue of $926.151, while BetMGM lost money. Its bettors proved to be sharp, winning $1.54 million out of the $1.51 million wagered. That resulted in the sportsbook taking a loss of $30,921 for the month. Grand Central did well, reporting revenue of $42,858 off its handle.

GambetDC reported revenue of $632,572 for October. However, the sportsbook also has to give up a larger share in taxes, as well as to its sports betting partner, Intralot.

GambetDC is slowing down the district’s ability to have a more robust sports betting network. According to data compiled by Washington Business Journal, the sportsbook has taken around 345,000 fewer wagers than Caesars and BetMGM combined, despite the latter’s late arrival and the limited access both have compared to GambetDC. The DC Lottery has tried to argue that its lax performance is due to a lack of local traffic; however, the numbers clearly indicate that this isn’t the case. The truth is that the other books are more bettor-friendly in terms of taxes and odds, and their popularity clearly reflects the preference bettors show.

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