DC sports betting revenue drops to $2m in May

Washington DC’s sports betting market reported another drop in revenue in May.

According to the DC Lottery’s figures for the month of May, between William Hill and the DC Lottery’s Gambet brand, bettors in the nation’s capital wagered $13.7m on sports in May.

Total betting handle for the market was up by 28.2% on the $10.7m wagered in the previous month.

In terms of revenue, Gambet and William Hill generated a combined revenue of $2m in May, a 3.7% drop on the $2.1m generated in April.

William Hill vs Gambet

William Hill, which operates a land-based sportsbook at the Capital One Arena as well as a mobile sportsbook, took $10.6m in bets in May, up from $8m in April

Despite recording a significant increase in handle, the operator generated $1.3m in revenue, which marked an 11.6% month-on-month drop.

Bettors in the capital received $9.3m in prizes from William Hill in Mya, up from $6.4m in April.

William Hill has continued to dominate the DC betting market despite having a smaller presence than the DC Lottery’s betting product.

The Lottery’s Gambet product took $3m in sports wagers but after paying out $2.4m in winnings, the operator was left with just $637,400 in revenue.

Gambet is coming up short

Despite having a monopoly over the online DC betting market, the DC Lottery’s sportsbook product has yet to capitalise on its advantage.

Last week Thursday, during a budget oversight hearing, DC Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie questioned members of the Office of Lottery and Gaming. However, there wasn’t much positive information for the Lottery’s betting efforts.

For the 2021 fiscal year, the Lottery forecasted $6.2m in revenue to be transferred to the District, but with just four months left in the period, a total of $230,000 has been transferred. The $6.2m had already been lowered from $22.6m.

However, Ridgely Bennett, interim executive director of the Office of Lottery and Gaming, said there is still a chance the Lottery’s betting product could succeed.

Bennett said: “We’re premature in making final determinations because we have not had an opportunity to get our whole program up and running.”

Bennett also said the coronavirus pandemic caused major disruption to the Lottery’s plans, but there was no reason to worry just yet.

Bennett added: “What we believe will happen now that the city is opening up, now that sporting events are actually occurring, is that you’ll see how that model will bring in a significantly greater revenue to the district than what the privately-operated sports wagering will do.

“But once again we’ll have to see, but that’s how the program is designed and we are still confident in the model.”

However, Councilman McDuffie, who previously questioned the potential success of the Lottery’s betting efforts, did not share Bennett’s optimism.

McDuffie said: “I am admittedly less confident than you are in the model, I gotta tell you, but I don’t claim to know as much about this as you. But as I continue to delve deeply into this and my staff, who has spent a significant amount of time looking at Gambet, looking at William Hill, looking at Virginia, Maryland, looking at other places around the country, as I get that information from staff I gotta tell you my confidence isn’t growing, it isn’t improving.”

What else is happening in DC?

Earlier this month, US sports betting brand BetMGM announced the launch of its sports betting product in Washington DC under a partnership with Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Washington Nationals.

Under the agreement with the MLB team, which was announced in January, BetMGM will be able to offer sports betting via its mobile app in the district. 

The sports betting app can be accessed from anywhere within the City but due to local restrictions, players can only place bets when located within a two-block radius of the team’s Nationals Park stadium.

BetMGM will also open a sportsbook inside the stadium.

Last month, William Hill announced the opening of a full sportsbook at the Capital One Arena in Washington DC. In July 2020, the operator opened a temporary sportsbook space inside the facility, complete with self-service betting kiosks and betting windows.

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