In what appears to be another ominous sign for Lottery-run GambetDC, BetMGM has launched its sports betting app in the Washington, DC online gambling market. With the Thursday announcement, BetMGM has become the third online sportsbook to launch in Capital City.

A joint venture between MGM Resorts and UK-based Entain, BetMGM will be the only mobile sportsbook available at Nationals Park, which is home to the Washington Nationals.

BetMGM’s entrance into the Nationals Park is part of its deal with the Washington Nationals. The baseball park will also have a retail BetMGM Sportsbook adjacent to it under the multi-year partnership first announced on Jan. 11, 2021. The proposed retail sportsbook will open later this year.

The sportsbook launch comes four months after it submitted its application to the authorities on Feb. 12.

Regional Expansion

Allan Gottlieb, COO of Lerner Sports Group, said, “as our official sportsbook partner, BetMGM further increases the greatest in-venue fan experience in DC via its state-of-the-art entertainment products and services.”

 He said the BetMGM app would allow the fans to engage with the game in exciting and novel ways, while the BetMGM’s retail sportsbook would provide Nationals fans and the residents of the Capital City with a top-class gathering place to celebrate their passion for sports.

BetMGM might be late to join the DC sports betting which legalized the industry in 2018. But the third-most popular sportsbook of the nation has a chance to grab the market which has been largely a monopolistic lottery-led monopoly run by GembetDC.

The digital arm of MGM Resorts is also launching in neighboring Maryland this fall, and already available in Virginia. In Sept. 2020, the company hired the Academy and GRAMMY Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx to star in BetMGM’s new ad campaign. That well-spent money is likely to bear fruit now in the DC area.

While citing recent success in Virginia, Adam Greenblatt, the company’s CEO, said launching in DC at National Parks would set the stage for BetMGM’s plans to expand the brand within the region.

“The Washington Nationals have been a wonderful partner, committed to innovating the in-stadium fan experience and we’re looking forward to inaugurating our retail sportsbook at the stadium later this year.”

But Expansion Within Restrictions…

But like William Hill, BetMGM will also operate within certain limitations in the DC area. Unlike GambetDC – which has District-wide access to offer mobile sports betting – The BetMGM app is geofenced to a two-block radius of the stadium.

William Hill also operates under the same restrictions, while operating from Capital One Arena downtown.

It means BetMGM customers will have to travel to place digital bets on its app. GamebetDC’s uninteresting odds led them to drive to retail William Hill sportsbook before it went live in January.

However, those uneven rules may change in near future. An audit of DC sports betting results was expected in May to determine if the existing monopolistic model was working or whether a change to an open model should be adopted. The open model, if adopted, would tax operators at 20% of their revenue.

The audit report was not completed in time, and it is likely to complete by the end of this month.

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