Washington, DC Sportsbooks See Handle Drop For Second Straight Month

Written By Steve Schult on January 27, 2022
Washington DC sportsbooks December 2021 sports betting

December 2021 sports betting at Washington DC sportsbooks saw a second consecutive month with a decline in total wagers accepted.

Furthermore, the larger sports betting operations in the nation’s capital saw dips in revenue and hold percentage, as well. However, the smallest sportsbook in the area continued to trend in a positive direction.

The district’s four sportsbooks combined to accept a total of $19.2 million from bettors. It represented a 10.3% drop from November 2021’s $21.4 million in wagers. It was also a continued decline from October 2021’s record-setting $26.3 million handle.

Washington, DC sportsbooks generated $1.4 million in gross gaming revenue from the $19.2 million handle. The revenue is a whopping 68.5% drop from November’s $4.4 million winnings.

Declines across board for December 2021 sports betting in DC

Caesars by William Hill, a retail sportsbook at Capital One Arena, and district-wide online betting operator GambetDC, were hit the hardest with the December decline. The two operators, who have nearly 85% market share combined, saw a drop in total handle, revenue and hold percentage.

Caesars, which also has limited online betting in the two blocks around the arena, won $572,583 from a handle of $11.4 million. Those numbers translate to a 5% hold – and a significant drop from the month before.

Caesars recorded a $13.9 million handle and a 21.8% hold in November, which resulted in revenue worth $3 million.

GambetDC saw similar, but not as drastic declines in those same metrics. The online betting operation run by the DC Lottery reported a handle of $5 million and revenue of $665,718, good for a 13% hold.

Those December figures follow a $5.2 million handle, $1.1 million revenue and a 20.5% hold in November. On the bright side for GambetDC, its hold rate is still above the 6-8% industry average.

Here is the full breakdown of the December 2021 sports betting numbers:

OperatorHandleHoldRevenueMarket Share
Caesars by William Hill$11,357,962.765.04%$572,583.6959.1%
Grand Central $735,385.8012.48%$91,789.663.8%

Smallest operation shines brightest in November

The only Class B license in DC, Grand Central, had the opposite experience of its larger counterparts. The sports bar reported a sizable increase in both handle and revenue in its third month of sports betting.

Grand Central profited $91,789 after accepting $735,385 in bets during December 2021 sports betting. Those numbers are up from a handle of $494,997 and revenue of $67,075 in November.

Its hold dropped slightly from 13.6% in November to 12.5%, but like GambetDC, still above the national average. More importantly, the bar’s sports betting market share jumped from 2.3% to 3.8%.

BetMGM, which operates a sportsbook at Nationals Park, experienced an increase in the handle, but a decrease in revenue. It accepted $2.2 million in wagers, up from November’s $1.8 million, but only generated a revenue of $68,614.

The tiny 3.2% hold rate is likely just short-term variance stemming from an uncharacteristically good month for its customers. The increase in the handle is the more important metric for the overall health of the operation.

Did Maryland cause the downturn in DC?

The continued drop in most December sports betting metrics came as its neighbor to the north launched its own sports betting market.

On Dec. 9, Maryland created a sports betting market of its own with Gov. Larry Hogan placing the first bet in state history. The rollout of sports betting in MD likely eliminated some demand for its citizens to make the drive into DC.

However, only one of Maryland’s five brick-and-mortar sportsbooks is in the DC area, and there’s still no concrete timeline for an online betting launch.

Southern Maryland sports bettors could find the drive into DC and the ability to place a wager on GambetDC more convenient than a trip to MGM National Harbor.

Photo by Shutterstock / Bankrx
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Steve Schult

Steve Schult has covered the gambling world for the last decade. With stints as a staff writer for the World Series of Poker and Bluff Magazine, as well as the online content manager for Card Player Media, the New York native covered high-stakes poker tournaments and the overall casino industry. He’ll shift most of his focus to the Virginia, Maryland and Florida markets as a managing editor for Catena Media.

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