DC Sports Betting Rebounds in September Amid City Council Concern

DC Sports Betting Rebounds in September Amid City Council Concern
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Washington D.C. sports wagering financial figures got a boost in September over August, presumably from NFL and college football action. As usual, the non-GambetDC operators set the pace. 

GambetDC is the DC Lottery’s oft-criticized online sports betting app. Despite having a near-monopoly on mobile sports betting in the city, GambetDC consistently trails other sportsbooks that operate mainly as retail books along with some mobile betting that’s allowed within close proximity to the associated retail books.

All of them add up to only a small fraction of the handle and revenue at Virginia sportsbooks with that state’s all-mobile market.

In September, the total sports betting handle for all sports wagering operators in Washington was $19.34 million. Of that amount, about $13.41 million (69% of the total) was action taken by non-GambetDC operators. GambetDC took $5.95 million in wagers.

Overall, the September totals were a healthy increase from August, according to the District’s Office of Lottery and Gaming. The $19.34 million in handle was a 47.1% increase from August’s $13.15 million; that month, $9.71 million was non-GambetDC handle and $3.44 million came from GambetDC wagers.

Virginia Sports Betting Healthier than DC

But compared to Virginia sportsbook apps, the handle in the nation’s capital is tiny. Numbers for September are not out yet, but in August, the handle for sports betting in Virginia was about $287.67 million. Virginia has about 10 times the population as D.C. so it’s reasonable to expect that much of a size difference in financial numbers. But with Gambet, D.C. hasn’t ever come close to bringing in even 10% of Virginia’s handle in any month since both markets launched in January 2021.

September’s total combined revenue (GambetDC and non-GambetDC) was a little more than $3.53 million, up 92.6% from August ($1.83 million).

September online sports betting Gross Gaming Revenue (non-GambetDC) was $2.49 million, up 95.4% from August ($1.27 million). Those non-Gambet operators have locations at major sporting arenas in D.C. – Caesars Sportsbook operates at Capital One Arena, BetMGM at Nationals Park and FanDuel has a sportsbook at Audi Field.

September revenue from GambetDC (amount played minus amount won by customers) was $1.04 million, up 86.4% from August ($557,987). September sports betting tax revenue (non-GambetDC) was $249,045, up 95.4% from August ($127,470).

Proposal to Open D.C. Sports Betting Market

The District’s City Council is tired of GambetDC underproducing, it seems.

Last week, several city council members, led by Elissa Silverman, brought forth legislation that would open Washington’s sports betting market to more major operators. The proposal seeks to end Gambet’s exclusivity as a mobile operator in the city.

“If we’re going to have a lottery and a sports betting program, let’s at least make it a revenue generator for the city so it can fund important efforts in public safety, public education and housing,” Silverman said in a news release. “And let’s stop the bad practice of awarding lucrative contracts without competition.”

Fellow City Council members Brooke Pinto, Mary Cheh and Charles Allen co-introduced the bill.

In Virginia, the market is open and is only online, so operators such as BetMGM Virginia, FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars. Until this summer, there weren’t any physical casinos in the commonwealth, and even the one now open in Bristol does not take wagers on sports.

Even More Mobile Competition Coming in Maryland

There’s more competition coming for D.C. as well, because Maryland is getting close to launching its mobile sports betting market. By late November or, more likely, early December, that state will add online options to its existing retail sports betting market at five casinos and three other locations.

For the best Virginia sports betting bonuses, turn to BetVirginia.com before you wager to get top deals.

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Contributors

Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others

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