Competition Heats Up in Washington

The Washington DC sports betting sector could be on the verge of a new era of tougher competition with the news that major betting operator BetMGM has struck an access agreement. 

According to reports, BetMGM will be able to offer both retail and online sports betting through a deal with the MLB franchise, the Washington Nationals. The multi-year exclusive deal will include a sportsbook that will be connected to Nationals Park along with sports betting mobile app, though this can only be accessed in the immediate vicinity of Nationals Park. 

MGM is well placed to do well in DC as it is already well known in the area. The MGM National Harbor venue is only 11 miles to the south of DC.  

According to a spokesperson for BetMGM, the retail sportsbook service is set to be opened this summer, although the precise timeline for MGM’s entry into the Washington DC sports betting sector has yet to be finalized. 

Pressure for GambetDC

Whenever MGM eventually launches in DC, it is sure to put further pressure on the beleaguered sports betting app GambetDC. In fact, the prospect of a new nationally known sports betting brand entering the DC market could lead to serious problems for the DC Lottery‘s app. 

GambetDC is run by Intralot and provides the District’s only online multi-sports betting app, thanks to a decision by the DC Council to offers sports betting through the DC lottery provider. Although sportsbooks that have partnered with stadiums and other arenas still have permission to offer mobile sports betting, that is only possible in a two-block radius around the venue’s property.

That has given GambetDC a significant advantage over the sports betting competition, although it has managed to squander that advantage due to the generally poor prices on sports betting markets offered by Intralot. The result has been that GambetDC has struggled to keep pace with an unexpected opponent in the form of a temporary retail sportsbook set up by William Hill. 

From the time of its launch in late May until December, GambetDC declared a total of $18.7 million in handle as well as $3.5 million in revenue. William Hill, at the same time, has reported $49.4 million in the handle along with $8.2 million in revenue, gained in the period July through November.

That gap is expected to widen as a result of William Hill launching its mobile app last month. Although the app is only useable within a two-block area of the Capital One Arena, it will help to cut down the long wait for customers to use its retail sports betting kiosks.

BetMGM Provides Wider Competition

Of course, not all of the pressure of the new BetMGM competitor will be on GambetDC. The Capital One Arena and Nationals Park are only just over two miles apart. That will mean that anyone who is in the area to bet with William Hill through their mobile will be only a short drive from being able to bet through the BetMGM app as well. 

The arrival of BetMGM also signals the start of a process of widening competition in DC. FanDuel Sportsbook has signed an agreement to provide sports betting through the MLS side DC United. The result will be a sports betting operation at Audi Field, located only 0.2 miles from Nationals Park. The FanDuel operation is expected to launch this year. 

Neighbouring Virginia is also set to provide significant competition. It has been reported that sports betting could launch in the state in time for the Super Bowl, while Maryland is also on course to set up a sports betting sector after legislators approved legalization in principle back in November. 

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