Proposed DC Bill Aims to Foster Competitive Digital Sports Betting Scene

In a bid to revamp the online sports betting landscape in Washington, D.C., lawmakers are considering a groundbreaking bill that would introduce a new Class C license, allowing operators to conduct citywide online sports wagering activities.

Presently, the sole platform available across the district is GambetDC, operated by Intralot on behalf of the Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG). However, GambetDC has faced criticism since its inception due to issues such as unfavorable odds, restricted markets, and cumbersome user experience.

Stakeholders have long been aware that consumers frequently venture into neighboring Maryland and Virginia, which collectively offer a multitude of online sportsbooks. Despite the presence of other platforms like BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook in the district, their operations are confined to partner sports venues and a limited radius.

Revenue Discrepancies and Potential

Despite generating $4.3 million in tax revenue for the district since its launch in May 2020, GambetDC’s performance falls significantly short of initial projections, which estimated potential tax revenues of up to $84 million. By comparison, Delaware, operating under a similar single-operator model, has yielded $65.5 million in tax revenue since its inception in June 2018. Similarly, New Hampshire, another jurisdiction with a monopoly sports betting model, has reaped $101.8 million in tax revenue since its launch in December 2019.

Councilmember McDuffie has been a vocal advocate for a more competitive online sports betting market since the legalization of online sports betting by the DC Council in 2019. Initially, the DC Council and OLG granted lottery vendor Intralot an expanded contract, effectively granting it a virtual monopoly over sports betting operations, a decision that is now under reconsideration.

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