DC June Sports Betting Handle Increases 42% Amid Controversy Surrounding Intralot
Washington DC sports betting saw a nearly $42 increase in June handle amid an audit report raising issues with the DC Lottery’s no-bid contract with Intralot. BetMGM also launched in June as the third sports betting option for DC bettors.
According to the June report, DC sports betting continues to follow its exceptional pattern under which overall handle owes largely to retail betting. William Hill sportsbook at Capital One Arena and the newly launched BetMGM Sportsbook app at Nationals Park pushed the overall handle to $19.5 million.
The only district-wide mobile option – GamebetDC app – again showed a dismal performance by reporting just $3.4 million.
DC Lottery runs the GamebetDC app under a monopolistic environment, which does not extend the same district-wide mobile option to William Hill and BetMGM. Both these entities operate – and there is no fourth sports betting option in the district – through their retail sportsbooks, and allow digital betting within a small radius around their retail venue.
Further Breakdown of June Handle
The three DC sportsbooks combined to post $19.5 million in total handle, up 41.7% from May’s $13.8 million. In May, the DC bettors had only two options – William Hill ($10.7 million) and GambetDC ($3.4 million).
On June 10, BetMGM announced the launch into Washington DC in partnership with the Washington Nationals, and essentially giving the residents the third sports betting option.
Of the $19.5 million handle last month, William Hill saw $15.7 million and BetMGM took in $376,661, according to the June report. GamebetDC accounted for just $3.4 million.
The June sports betting gross gaming revenue from William Hill and BetMGM was $1.7 million, representing a 22.1% increase from May’s $1.4 million.
The last month’s revenue from GamebetDC brought in $517,990, down 18.7% from May’s $637,422.
Tax revenue in June from the two sportsbooks was $167,350, up 22.1% from May’s $137,067.
William Hill – originally a British bookmaker until Americanized recently by Caesars Entertainment – opened its permanent sportsbook in May at the Capital One Arena, the home of the NBA Wizards and NHL Capitals. Caesars-owned brand opened its temporary sportsbook in the arena last August and was the first bookmaker in a professional sports venue in the country.
BetMGM announced its launch last month in DC sports betting to add misery to the GambetDC, reeling from controversy since the lottery app launched in May 2020 as the sole option for sports bettors in the district.
However, the much-criticized DC sports betting model is likely to change in the foreseeable future. An audit was due in May to determine if the existing monopoly model was workable, or an open model should be a better option for the district. The audit report was delayed by nearly two months and has recently been published.
Audit of DC Sports Betting Firm Released
An audit report released earlier this month by the Office of the DC Auditor raised concerns with the lottery’s $215 million no-bid contract to operate sports betting in the capital. The auditor noted the Greek company Intralot – the DC Lottery’s contractor – was woefully short on meeting the required objective for subcontracting to or making purchases from local businesses.
The audit also found “multiple instances of questionable practices, payments made by an entity that is not the principal contractor,” and noted failure to document whether businesses meet certified business enterprises (CBE) requirements.
Following the release of the audit report, the Greek company said the audit “injected inaccurate information and mischaracterizations into the public domain.”
The company in question further noted it has always sought to perform to the letter and intent of contract terms and the law and will continue to do so.
In July 2019, Intralot had announced a new contract with the District of Columbia Office of Lottery and Gaming. The ten-year partnership that was to be effective Oct. 1, 2019, would be extendable for an additional five years.