DC Handle for William Hill Down, Still Doubles Lottery App

DC Handle for William Hill Down, Still Doubles Lottery App
© USA Today

The good news for the District of Columbia’s online sports wagering app is that it enjoyed the best month ever in terms of handle in its brief history.

The not-so-good news is that GambetDC, the only mobile sports betting app that reaches the entire city, still lags badly in handle behind its mostly bricks-and-mortar counterpart in town, the William Hill sportsbook at the Capital One Arena.

In January, William Hill, which is the first sportsbook located within a major U.S. pro sports venue, had a handle of $10.57 million and revenue of $1.89 million (17.9% hold), according to figures for William Hill on the DC Lottery website. In addition to the retail book inside the building, the company also has a limited-range mobile app that can be used within a two-block radius around the arena.

GambetDC, the DC Lottery’s sports app that is operated in association with Intralot and reaches the entire city, had a handle of $5.18 million in January with revenue of more than $910,000 (17.6% hold), the lottery website reported. Intralot has has been criticized for its suspect odds and other issues in D.C. and in Montana.

January’s combined retail and online sports betting handle in D.C. was $15.75 million with a combined hold of $2.8 million.

However, the contrast between online and retail sports wagering in the District is stark. In many jurisdictions with both retail and online sports betting, online betting outpaces retail wagering by a wide margin.

But in the case of D.C., ever since the lottery sports app went live in October 2020, online wagering has trailed the mostly retail business at William Hill substantially. Early complaints about the online sports app were that the odds offered were especially poor for bettors.

GambetDC’s online sports betting business enjoyed its biggest handle ever in January, but it still had less than half the handle of William Hill, which plans a more elaborate destination sports book at the home of the NBA Wizards and NHL Capitals.

The month-to-month comparisons saw William Hill’s January handle go down by $1.85 million from December, or 14.9%, but revenues stayed about the same. GambetDC actually gained some ground month-to-month with a January uptick of about $900,00 in handle from December, or about 21%, and an increase in hold of about $100,000.

Handle 19 Update

In another sports wagering development in D.C., an effort to put a sportsbook in a standalone location in the 300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE has been derailed for now.

The Office of Gaming and Lottery rejected an application for the Class B sports wagering facility by a prospective operator named Handle 19. Handle 19 is owned by Shane August, a former Norfolk State (Virginia) football player whose plans appeared to include a potential sports bar and restaurant.

In a letter dated Jan. 28, the Office of Gaming and Lottery noted a review recommended against the Handle 19 application “due to investigative findings related to its Individual Qualifiers” without being more specific.

The OGL also gave Handle 19 the opportunity to withdraw its application so that it could re-apply, along with paying a new application fee. Should there be a resubmission, the reported approval timeline would suggest that the sports wagering facility, if approved, would probably not open until late this year or even beyond.

New Offering from Lottery, More Options on Way

GambetDC and Simplebet introduced real-money, fully automated betting during the NFL Wild-Card Weekend on Jan 8-9. It allowed bettors to wager on individual drives during the NFL games and also allowed traditional bets. There are plans to expand the offering to NBA and MLB games.

On Jan. 11, the Washington Nationals announced a multiyear partnership with BetMGM to be its official sports betting partner. The Nationals will open a BetMGM Sportsbook connected to Nationals Park (the first in-stadium BetMGM sportsbook) and the launch of its mobile app within a permitted area around the park, much like the limit on the William Hill app outside of Capital One Arena.

FanDuel announced in late October that it will open a retail sportsbook at Audi Field, home of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, as part of a multiyear partnership with the team. FanDuel and the team hope to open the sportsbook in 2021.