The Washington D.C. sports betting market made gains in March, albeit small ones in line with previous performances that have produced small numbers in a strong sports town.
The nation’s capital had a bit more than $20 million in combined sports betting handle last month between the Lottery-run Gambet and the commercial retail sportsbooks operating in town.
While Virginia sports betting continues to rake in big action — in February, the state surpassed $400 million in handle for the fifth consecutive month — and neighboring Maryland gets closer to launching its mobile sports wagering market, D.C. continues to underwhelm.
Sports Betting Handle Increases
For March, sports betting handle in D.C. was $20,432,719, with $14,208,207 coming from non-Gambet books and $6,224,512 from Gambet, run by Intralot. That was a 7.1% increase from February’s $19.1 million total.
American Wagering Inc. is the official name of the Caesars Sportsbook that was the first commercial operator in the city, operating at Capital One Arena, home of the NHL’s Washington Capitals, NBA’s Washington Wizards and NCAA’s Georgetown men’s basketball team.
That book drew nearly $8.4 million in sports wagers for March, a drop of almost $3 million from the $11.3 million in February, according to figures from the D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming.
But the BetMGM Sportsbook, which also operates in Virginia and has a D.C. operation at Nationals Park, saw its volume increase by almost $2 million in a month-over-month comparison. That book took in $5.35 million in bets for March, well ahead of the $3.46 million in February.
The other outlet taking sports wagers in D.C. is the Grand Central Restaurant, Bar and Sportsbook on 18th Street NW, near DuPont Circle and Georgetown University. That facility took $471,180 in bets in March, an increase of nearly $100,000 from February.
The sports betting gross gaming revenue from the commercial sportsbooks in March was $854,196, up 184.6% from February ($300,133). The tax revenue, at exactly 10%, was $85,419 for the month.
Good News, But More Bad News For Intralot
Revenue from Gambet – the amount played minus the amount won – was $511,801 in March, a 16.2% increase over February’s $440,409, according to the D.C. Lottery.
But Intralot, which has received numerous customer complaints since it launched its sports betting in 2020, had much bigger problems than worrying about revenue totals.
Media reports revealed last week that Intralot had to pay the D.C. Lottery $500,000 for the operator’s failure to operate on some devices during this year’s Super Bowl, the biggest single-day wagering event in American sports.
Intralot operates GambetDC, the sole mobile sports betting option available in D.C. The company’s app did not work for Apple users on Super Bowl Sunday because, according to reports, the vendor did not secure approval from Apple. Android users were able to bet on the game using the app.
OLG Executive Director Frank Suarez said in a recent city council meeting that Intralot paid $500,000 to the Lottery to compensate, mostly to “overcome that negative sentiment” stemming from the operator’s failure during such a crucial sports betting day.