The Office of the District of Columbia Auditor (ODCA) has finally completed an audit of the district’s sports betting market that it was supposed to do four months ago. The results only further demonstrate what everyone in the sports betting industry already knew. The ODCA has apparently hired Captain Obvious to work in the office.
GambetDC Gambled and Lost
When DC began exploring the legalization of sports betting in the district, it decided that it would launch its own sportsbook, GambetDC, that would bring millions of dollars in revenue to the local government. The plan was on a collision course with failure from the start and has never come close to producing the results that had been expected. GambetDC introduced odds and lines that have heavily favored the house, leaving bettors uninterested in diving into the sportsbook.
The ODCA published its audit findings yesterday and, with a little luck, they will serve as a wake-up call for DC Council members and the GambetDC operator, Intralot, who have been oblivious to how things should have been structured. According to the audit results, “When compared to both the William Hill sportsbook in the District and to results in other states, GambetDC did not perform as well.” That’s an understatement, as GambetDC has never come close to providing the level of revenue that William Hill has seen, despite being widely available throughout the district – William Hill is limited to a two-block radius around Capital One Arena. Even though it was just added last month, BetMGM is already chipping away at GambetDC’s limited market share.
Breaking Down the Numbers
To put things in perspective, for the nine-month period that ended this past March, DC only picked up $444,000 in tax revenue from its own sportsbook off the $4.4 million total – Intralot pocketed the rest. From November to March – only five months – William Hill raked in three times that amount and delivered around $1.3 million in tax revenue to DC. Compared to other US jurisdictions, DC’s sports betting activity has remained virtually nil, with none of the spikes seen in all legal sports betting states.
Despite the extreme lack of results and a sports betting app that leaves bettors struggling to remain calm, the Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG), which is overseeing DC’s sports betting, doesn’t seem too interested in making any changes. It’s happy displaying worse odds, taking a larger vig and keeping an inferior app in place. Although it asserts that it is continuously making “enhancements” to the GambetDC app, none of those matter if no one is using the product. Like US Bookmaking Director of Sportsbook Operations Robert Walker asserted last year, “You might go to 7-Eleven to buy a gallon of milk, but you’re not shopping there.”