3 Takeaways from Washington D.C. September Sports Betting
Washington D.C. posted its September sports betting handle and revenue numbers on Thursday, and a few trends emerged.
Here are our 3 takeaways from the September sports betting numbers from the nation’s capital.
Record Set Thanks To Caesars Sportsbook
Washington, D.C., posted $20.7 million in total sports betting handle last month, derived from both Gambet and non-Gambet books combined. Gambet is the single-vendor sports betting platform from the D.C. Lottery. The non-Gambet books are from two major names in the industry – Caesars Sportsbook (formerly William Hill) and BetMGM Sportsbook. Caesars is mostly responsible for the new handle record.
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The non-Gambet books always take the lion’s share of the wagering action in the District, which is interesting because Gambet is the city-wide mobile option. In most jurisdictions, mobile sports betting owns the vast majority of the market (well above 90% in some states) but Gambet has been well behind the brick-and-mortar options in D.C.
Caesars, based at Capital One Arena (home of the NHL’s Capitals and NBA’s Wizards) brought in nearly $16.2 million for September, surpassing its record of $15.7 million in June.
Caesars also set a record for revenue in a month, at nearly $3.3 million. The operator’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) mark of $2.7 million had stood since November 2020.
BetMGM’s sportsbook at National Park brought in $836,623 in handle and $46,930 in GGR for September. The handle was a monthly record for the outlet, which opened in June.
Gambet Well Short of Its Record
The Gambet book brought in nearly $3.7 million in handle last month, its best figure since March’s $3.8 million but not close to the record of $5.2 million in January.
The start of football has helped several states set records in September, including Michigan, Indiana and Iowa. And New Jersey not only broke its state record, it reset the national mark and made history by becoming the first state to draw $1 billion in sports betting handle in one month.
And though D.C. did break its handle record, that is again thanks to the commercial operators, not Gambet, which is operated by Intralot. Gambet did more than double its August handle of $1.6 million.
But the Intralot product has drawn complaints about its odds. Here’s an example from odds available Friday afternoon. Gambet had the Washington Football Team as a 7.5-point underdog for Sunday’s game at Green Bay, while Caesars Sportsbook online had WFT +8. That part’s fine; different operators deviate by half a point here or there all the time (that’s why bettors would do well to shop around). The difference is, both spread bets are at -110 with Caesars, whereas with Gambet they’re both -118. And on the moneyline, Caesars has Washington at +310; at Gambet, WFT is +260 (both sites had the Packers at -440 moneyline).
What We Know After One Year of Operation
Most states have seen a huge growth in handle and the number of customers after one year of operation. It’s natural that, as more consumers are educated, more will sign up to wager, especially at online sportsbooks, and that has been the pattern in most states with legal sports betting.
Caesars, in addition to setting its handle record in September, also had the most total wagers it has ever had in a month, with 154,487.
That growth has not happened as much with Gambet.
Despite being more widely available, Gambet’s peak for wagers placed in a month was 148,853 in January, less than the record Caesars just set. September’s number for Gambet was 115,402 wagers.
D.C. sports betting launched in October 2020, so we now have 12 months of figures to analyze. And they lead to one conclusion: Gambet isn’t gaining much traction compared to sports betting options in states around the country – or even compared to the brick-and-mortar options in Washington D.C.
Jim Tomlin has more than 30 years of experience in sports journalism as an editor and writer. He has covered pro and college sports from football, baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, motorsports and more for publications such as the Tampa Bay Times, SaturdayDownSouth.com, SaturdayTradition.com and FanRag Sports. He now lends his expertise to TopUSCasinos.com, among other duties.