DC Sports Betting Market Nowhere Near Initial Projections

  • D.C. has made exactly $230,000 in revenue over the last eight months with their sports betting industry.
  • It was projected that the 2021 FY would bring in over $20 million in revenue from sports gaming.
  • Lottery officials claim that once sportsbooks for both retail and mobile platforms are fully launched, they’ll be able to better reach such annual projections in profits.

WASHINGTON – Since regulating sports betting in 2018, Washington, D.C., has struggled to make ends meet.

In the beginning, estimates that said there would be millions of dollars in profits to be had annually have yet to come to fruition.

In fact, projections have had to scale down their goals with each passing year as far as how much money could be made. But with neighboring states obliterating D.C.’s meager handle and revenue, they can no longer fall back on excuses like the Coronavirus Pandemic, so what gives?

What’s Happening With D.C. Sports Betting?

Mobile sports betting in D.C. has had more than its fair share of bumps in the road, especially when it’s come to their platform availability.

The biggest application, GambetDC, has not gathered enough popularity among sports bettors in the District to be as profitable as stakeholders once thought it would be.

It was estimated that for the 2021 FY, D.C. sports betting would bring in $6.2 million. There is exactly four months left of the year and the sports gaming market has brought in only $230,000 to show for their efforts over the past eight months.

The Office of Lottery and Gaming was asked a number of questions in a Budget Oversight Hearing that was held on Thursday. The Lottery runs GambetDC and is the overall regulatory body of the market.

U.S. online sportsbooks are thriving nationwide but D.C. hasn’t found that sweet spot with their industry. There were no real answers as to why they’re doing so poorly.

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At one point, estimates of annual revenue were for $22.6 million and for the 2022 FY they project $20.4 million but they are nowhere near being able to make that happen at this point.

Lottery officials said it was their lack of being able to fully launch retail sportsbooks and mobile platforms that have kept them from making any real progress. That coupled with the Coronavirus Pandemic have led to their issues. But surrounding states and their businesses are booming.

When those reasons fell short, it was said mobile sports betting wasn’t being accessed because people do not trust the software and sharing such personal information.

“Once we open retail sports wagering, you’ll be able to go to a location and pay with cash,” said Ridgely Bennett, the D.C. Lottery’s general counsel. “Many people prefer to pay with cash.”

Can D.C. Find An Upswing?

The lottery is hopeful that once retail and mobile sports betting in the District are fully launched, profits will begin to be seen. As it is, William Hill’s sportsbook at the Capital One Arena has taken $92 million in handle over the last eight months.

That’s a step in the right direction as the temporary sports gaming facility has been doing much better than GambetDC.

However, Intralot could be changing their lines and odds for the sportsbook platform to appeal to a wider audience. Only time will tell how this plays out but for the sake of D.C. an uptick should be in their future or else this landslide will surely bring them down.