- Washington D.C.’s sports betting handle declined 29.6% from March to April.
- D.C.’s market is uniquely dominated by retail sports betting.
- This discrepancy could be due to the way in which Gambet D.C. sets their odds.
LAS VEGAS - While Washington D.C.’s sports betting handle declining from March to April was expected, the degree of decline was still quite large.
D.C.’s sports betting handle decreased by 29.6% from March to April, as March Madness seems to have generated a lot of interest in sports betting that did not carry over.
This is one of the largest March-April drops in the country. For context, New Jersey’s revenue decreased by 13%, Pennsylvania’s handle decreased by 13%, and states like Iowa, Michigan, and Indiana were in the mid 20% range.
D.C. is a relatively small city in terms of gambling - perhaps comparing it to a full state is not perfectly fair.
A smaller sample opens their data up to slightly more variance, meaning that this could be a blip and not a highly negative indicator.
D.C.’s sports betting industry is unique in another way - the majority of the money comes from retail, not online betting.
In both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, more than 90% of revenue comes from online sports betting.
This follows fairly logically - the country is still in the midst of a pandemic, and online sports betting is more easily accessible than retail sportsbooks.
In D.C., however, the opposite is true - almost 75% of sports bets were placed at D.C.’s one retail sportsbook.
That one retail sportsbook is located at the Capital One Arena and operated by William Hill, which is authorized to take mobile bets only if they are placed at Capital One Arena.
In other words, almost 75% of D.C.’s sports betting took place at Capital One Arena, and the online sportsbook platform that the District offers, Gambet D.C., is not drawing significant interest.
Gambet D.C.’s numbers have been steadily decreasing since the NFL season, with each month bringing a lower handle for their online sports betting offerings.
So what’s the problem with Gambet D.C.? They’re a monopoly, and they’re using that status to offer odds that are worse than a comparable sportsbook.
A commonly cited example is that while a normal sportsbook will have a pick ‘em at -110 odds on both sides, Gambet D.C. has them at -118 odds on both sides.
It’s possible that bettors are simply aware that Gambet D.C. is not giving them fair odds, and are avoiding it due to this situation.
While the March-April decline was expected, the degree of it, and the pattern of decline for Gambet D.C., should raise some alarms in the D.C. lottery, which operates it.