As Virginia prepares for the launch of legal sports betting, DC United and FanDuel Sportsbook have partnered to provide more competition north of the border.
The Major League Soccer team and the sportsbook giant will open a retail sportsbook at Audi Field in Washington, DC.
They plan to open the in-stadium sportsbook sometime in 2021.
The endeavor is part of a wider 10-year agreement between FanDuel and the MLS team. FanDuel, one of the nation’s largest sportsbook operators, will be the official sports betting partner of DC United.
One interesting aspect of the deal? DC United will reportedly receive an annual fee and a percentage of each bet that is made at the retail facility.
More on DC United and FanDuel deal
DC United got out of a previous deal with Caesars Entertainment to make room for FanDuel, which is part of Flutter Entertainment. As a result, the Caesars logo will no longer appear on the team’s jerseys.
DC United Chief Strategy Officer Sam Porter told Sportico that FanDuel is a better cultural fit for the team.
“D.C. United is looking forward to the opportunity of working with a first-rate operator in this new and exciting space,” Porter said in a press release. “The FanDuel Sportsbook is best-in-class and we believe their expertise, technology, and product will provide our fans, guests at Audi Field, and the Buzzard Point neighborhood a full-slate of entertainment options.”
And here’s FanDuel CEO Matt King in the release:
“As we continue to expand our nationwide footprint, joining forces with one of the MLS’ most iconic clubs allows us to bring America’s No. 1 sportsbook to the nation’s capital. We’re partnering with DC United to elevate the fan experience at Audi Field and bring the DMV area an in-person sports gaming experience other parts of the U.S. have come to know and love from FanDuel.”
FanDuel Sportsbook already big around the country
Currently, FanDuel operates 12 retail sportsbooks in nine different states. Additionally, it provides mobile sports gambling in seven US states.
The DC Lottery, which oversees sports betting in the district, still needs to issue FanDuel a license and regulatory approval.
However, once it’s secured, Audi Field could become a popular place for betting – on game days and beyond. After all, the Audi Field sportsbook would be open on game days and non-game days. It would also have retail windows and self-service kiosks. That setup should assure sportsbook business year-round.
As we’ve already learned, sports bettors are willing to travel and even wait in lines to avoid Washington, DC’s only online sportsbook.
DC sports betting market
The first Virginia sports betting operators should be online by January. However, up until William Hill opened a retail location at Capital One Arena, DC didn’t offer much in the way of competition.
Gambet (DC), a DC Lottery product, is the only online sportsbook permitted in the district.
The only other sportsbook is currently the William Hill retail location. However, the WH shop at Capital One Arena has already far surpassed GambetDC’s monthly handle. Additionally, an even better version of the retail location is in the works.
GambetDC has the only available Class A license in Washington, DC. William Hill has a Class B license. Likewise, DC United and FanDuel will try to secure the same license. So, too, will Handle19, a Virginia-based sportsbook upstart with grand plans for a sportsbook-themed restaurant in DC.
FanDuel’s potential location at Audi Field should have some strategic advantages, though. After all, the team averaged approximately 18,000 fans per (pre-pandemic) game. Additionally, it’s situated far enough from Capital One Arena that they shouldn’t cannibalize too much of the other’s business.
However, the entire DC sports betting market is dealing with increasing competition. In addition to the soon-to-launch Virginia sportsbooks, Maryland voters can legalize sports betting in their own state on Election Day next week.