Washington DC Sports Betting Is Live; Odds Raise Eyebrows

Washington DC Sports Betting Is Live; Odds Raise Eyebrows
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GambetDC, the Washington, D.C., Lottery’s sports betting platform, launched Thursday and its odds were drawing scrutiny on social media.

The lottery-run, single-source provider had been delayed by a lawsuit over its no-bid contract with Intralot and because of the coronavirus. A lottery spokesperson told Gambling.com on May 22 it would launch the website platform by the end of May with the iOS and Android apps available in early June.

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The D.C. lottery had planned to launch its sports betting platform by the end of March, but revised that schedule when sports and the district were shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.

Much like Montana, where Intralot also powers its sports-betting platform, Sports Bet Montana, the odds and design of GambetDC Thursday were questioned by bettors and others on social media.

For example, in Saturday’s UFC event, in the match between Louis Smolka and Casey Kenney, GambetDC posted Smolka at +200 and Kenney at -294. DraftKings has Smolka at +215 and Kenney at -278. FanDuel has Smolka at +220 and Kenney at -270.

In NFL odds for Week 1 in September, many games on GambetDC list the juice at -118 for both teams. Odds like that could send bettors offshore to find more reasonable lines. At most legal sportsbooks, the standard is -110 on point-spread bets.

Controversy Has Followed Intralot, Lotteries

Having Intralot as a single-vendor, lottery-led option is sure to bring more scrutiny to D.C., as it has in other states. For example, when Sports Bet Montana launched in March, sub-standard lines for UFC 249 raised concerns among bettors.

Gambling lobbyists in Montana tried to have the state rebid the sports betting contract with Intralot in July.

Washington D.C. was sued after the city council awarded a no-bid contract for Intralot to be the sole sports betting provider. But a D.C. superior court judge dismissed the lawsuit in December.

State lotteries that operate sports betting in Oregon, Rhode Island and New Hampshire have also run into problems with odds and geofencing. They also have single-vendor providers for sports betting.

It remains to be seen if the GambetDC odds become more in line with other sportsbooks. But another option could be on the way in D.C. if a sportsbook powered by William Hill opens at Capital One Arena, home to the NHL’s Capitals and NBA’s Wizards, as planned.

Neighboring states Maryland and Virginia could also have sports betting by early 2021. Both states are in the running for a new Washington Redskins stadium that will likely include a sportsbook. But the new stadium is years away.