The second month of the year was not a memorable one for the sports betting industry in the nation’s capital.
Washington D.C. recorded $14,634,828 in total handle, or amount wagered, for February. That was down 27.2% from the $20.1 million handle in January. That’s not surprising – Virginia sports betting handle was down 15.5% from January as a nationwide pattern for February continued.
Put simply, when NFL season ends, so do high figures for sportsbook activity. Sure, the Super Bowl is a massive betting event, but even that cannot make up for the lack of volume because that’s the only NFL game in February. September through January usually have the highest monthly figures because the number of NFL games (and college football too) guarantees that the wagers will keep rolling in.
March is a boost for most sportsbooks nationwide, and it should be for D.C. as well. But perhaps not as much as one might think.
Why DC Sportsbooks Might Not Get March Madness Bounce
It remains to be seen how much the NCAA Basketball Tournament will benefit both DC sports betting operators and online Virginia sportsbook apps. D.C. likely won’t report March numbers at commercial, retail outlets for a few weeks. Virginia always reports its sports betting either the last business day of the following month or the first day of the month after that.
There’s reason to believe that the bounce from March Madness won’t be as pronounced for Washington as it will be in some states. General interest is always there for March Madness but the amount of action for the sportsbooks in any market also depend to an extent on local involvement.
In the D.C. metro market, that involvement was not deep and did not last long. Maryland was bounced from the Men’s NCAA Tournament by No. 1 seed Alabama in the South Region. Virginia, the No. 4 seed in the same region, did not even last that long as the Cavaliers fell to No. 13 seed Furman in a first-round upset. The same fate befell VCU, the No. 12 seed in the West Region, with a first-round loss to St. Mary’s.
The only D.C. school in the men’s tourney was Howard, a No. 16 seed in the West, which lost to No. 1 Kansas in the first round.
And a lack of reasons for D.C. fans to cheer in the NCAA Tournament might not be the only thing that keeps March activity lower than expected at DC sportsbooks. The Capitals and Wizards have both been eliminated from their playoff races, the Nationals seem likely to have another rough Major League Baseball season, and the Commanders are giving fans little reason to invest a futures bet on them.
DC Sportsbooks Breakdown For February
The total combined revenue in February in DC was $1,193,982, down 20.1% from January ($1,494,442).
That breaks down to $626,273 from Gambet, the Intralot-run mobile app (down 27.4% from January’s $862,723) and $567,709 in gross gaming revenue from commercial retail operators (down 10.1% from January’s $631,719). The tax revenue from the non-Gambet books declined 2%, from $65,248 in January to $63,918 last month.
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