William Hill Dominates in Washington DC

UK-based sports betting company William Hill has continued its surprise domination of the Washington DC sports betting market, according to the latest figures. 

The temporary William Hill sportsbook, located at the Capital One Arena, took in $13.7 million in sports bets during November, recording revenue of $2.7 million and a 19.9% hold. That figure is an impressive 3.5 times greater than the $3.9 million handle recorded by the DC Lottery sports betting platform, GambetDC, despite the Intralot-powered service having a mobile component. 

Overall, the total handle for sports betting in DC since it was launched at the end of May this year stands at only $63.8 million, which represents a disappointing return.

DC Lottery Happy 

That isn’t the view of the DC Lottery, however. The Lottery adopted a positive tone in reacting to October’s figures and took the same line in response to the latest numbers:

Last month, a spokesperson for the DC Lottery told LSR sports betting progressed “as expected” in the nation’s capital during October. The Lottery had a similar tone in November:

“We are happy with its growth and expect this trend to continue.”

The full financial figures relating to the GambetDC operation are not clear, but according to a spokesperson, around 50% of the platform’s revenue is profit, which would mean an approximate profit of $440,000 for November and $1.3 million since they launched.

Those figures, disappointing as they are, could soon be under threat as new private operators prepare to enter the market. Reports suggest that there is currently two Class A license applications under consideration, with more expected. 

Pricing Problems

Although the DC Lottery says that they are offering competitive odds to consumers, the evidence suggests otherwise. On many of the markets offered by the platform, they are still quoting -118 lines, which is out of kilter with the traditional -110 lines offered by other sports betting services. 

Cutting into that margin might be the best way for GamebetDC to entice more customers to use their service. The fact that reports suggest betting customers have been queuing to use the land-based retail service offered by William Hill, rather than signing up for the more convenient mobile product provided by GamebetDC is a strong indication that pricing could be the problem. 

So far, however, despite the fact that they have not provided any evidence that their pricing model is maximizing returns from customers, the DC Lottery does not appear to be changing course. 

Growth Slow but Steady

Part of the reason for that reluctance to acknowledge the problem could be that although the DC Lottery sportsbook is not flourishing, it is growing steadily. Its percentage of handle rose from 22.1 in October to 22.5 in November, and the share of sports betting revenue was up from 23.2% to 24.44%. 

Whether that modest growth will be sustained when the market becomes more competitive remains doubtful. For six months, GambetDC has had no mobile competition, but that is due to change. Sports betting in Virginia is due to launch in January, in time for the Super Bowl, which is being staged on February 7. There has been a total of 25 applications for the Virginia market, although only half of those are likely to be approved. But those bettors in the south of DC could find it more convenient to bet in Virginia. There is also likely to be more competitive in the north, where legislators in Maryland are likely to move on sports betting legislation early in the New Year, following the Yes vote in November’s referendum. 

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