UK-based sports betting company William Hill has been making inroads into the growing US sports betting market, and they are set to strengthen their short term hold on the sports betting sector in the District of Columbia, thanks to a new expansion of their service.
Sports betting fans in Washington DC have already demonstrated that they are willing to set aside convenience in favor of getting better odds, but now it seems that they won’t even have to make that sacrifice due to the launch of the new William Hill mobile betting platform.
The battle between the veteran company and the DC Lottery’s own sports betting platform, GamBetDC, was already fairly one-sided but is set to be even more of an uneven struggle now that William Hill is supplementing their retail foothold in DC. In addition to their successful retail betting presence at the Capital One Arena, they will now be able to take bets through a mobile app, as long as the customer is within two blocks of the Arena.
This isn’t true mobile sports betting, in its fullest sense, but it will enable customers to avoid the queues and inconvenience of attending the betting kiosk in person, which is sure to be a further boost to William Hill’s handle.
Thus far, the battle for sports betting supremacy in the US capital has been a one-sided contest. The William Hill sportsbook, which is essentially a temporary operation, took an impressive $13.7 million in the month of November. That figure is a solid 3.5 times higher than the $3.9 million that GambetDC was able to generate from its sports betting activities that month.
Those results are all the more remarkable for the fact that GambetDC allows full mobile betting. That DC sports betting customers have preferred to stand in line at the Capital One Arena rather than use the GamBet platform is down largely to the price differences. Straight bets with GambetDC are typically priced at -118, while William Hill offers -110.
William Hill is doing nothing remarkable here. Their -110 pricing structure is fairly standard throughout the US sports betting sector. It is GambetDC’s failure to recognize the importance of price that is driving up the rival operator’s market share. That trend is sure to continue as William Hill, already the official betting partner of the Washington Wizards, Capitals, and Mystics, all of whom play at the Capital One Arena, is planning to provide a full-service sportsbook in the first quarter of this year.
The issue of price has been a source of controversy in the US sports betting market. Last August, Shay Segev, the CEO of the giant betting group, Entain, said that price was not that important in the US and that only a small group of players are actively looking for the best odds.
The evidence from DC suggests that the situation may be more complicated. Segev, who has considerable global experience in the betting sector, may be right that small differentials in price are unlikely to weigh heavily with recreational bettors. But GambetDC’s odds are so far out of line that even recreational punters are likely to notice. More importantly, it seems that the word is out that GambetDC is not the place to go for a bet.
That could be bad news for the Lottery-owned project, which is also likely to face further competition from new betting operators entering the DC market over the next few months.