Washington, DC Sportsbooks Continue Slide With $18.6 Handle In January

Posted on February 16, 2022 - Last Updated on February 18, 2022

With the largest Washington, DC, sportsbook experiencing a slide in January 2022 sports betting, the overall market was also down for the third straight month.

Overall, the four sports-betting operators in the nation’s capital collected a little more than $18.6 million in wagers.

That marked the third straight month of decline with the DC sports betting handle. The quartet of operators collected $21.4 million in wagers in November 2021 and $19.2 million in December 2021. Those months followed a record $26.3 million that DC bettors wagered in October 2021.

It’s an unfortunate start to the year for a broken DC sports-betting market. And in January, the area’s busiest sportsbook saw a noticeable decline in betting volume.

Caesars by William Hill struggles with January 2022 sports betting

Caesars by William Hill, which is a retail sportsbook at Capital One Arena, had a $11.4 million handle in December but just $9.2 million in January, which marks a 19% decline. It also saw its monthly market share dip from 59% to 49% month-over-month, as well.

Grand Central, the only Class B licensee in DC, also saw betting volume decline sharply in January. The business, which bills itself as a sports-betting bar, had been a bright spot in the DC market. But after two months of sharp growth, the Adam’s Morgan neighborhood mainstay saw its burgeoning sports-betting operation stumble in January with a 19% percent betting decline:

  • October 2021 handle (opening month): $207,355
  • November 2021 handle: $494,997 (+139% from previous month)
  • December 2021 handle: $735,385 (+49%)
  • January 2022 handle: $597,353 (-18.8%)

However, GambetDC, the much-maligned DC Lottery-backed operator, made the most of its near-monopoly in DC online betting. Betting volume increased 15% to $5.7 million in January.

Additionally, BetMGM also saw an increase. In fact, betting volume spiked by 45% to $3.1 million. BetMGM operates a retail sportsbook at Nationals Park. And like Caesars at Capital One Arena, BetMGM can offer limited online wagering in the two-block radius around the sports venue.

Those BetMGM numbers could soon get even better, though. On Jan. 31, the sportsbook operator opened its new and long-awaited dedicated sportsbook at Nationals Park. It’s the first true sportsbook located in an MLB stadium.

Here’s a look at all of the DC operators for January 2022 sports betting:

OperatorHandleHoldRevenueMonthly Market Share
Caesars by William Hill$9,169,6397.6%$694,90549.2%
GambetDC$5,734,40116.6%$952,91830.8%
BetMGM$3,126,3957.8%$243,69516.8%
Grand Central $597,35311.8%$70,7383.2%
Totals$18,627,78910.5%$1,962,256

Despite good month, GambetDC still in trouble

By now, GambetDC’s problems are well-known. With bad odds and a clunky interface, knowledgeable sports bettors have steered clear of the Intralot product.

Sharp bettors’ reluctance to use GambetDC could also explain its outsized hold percentage. It was 16.6% for January 2022 sports betting. That’s not a remarkably unusual monthly hold for GambetDC – but it’s well above the national average of 6-9%.

Like other sportsbook operators, GambetDC benefitted from betting interest in the NFL Playoffs in January. Those postseason games always do a lot of betting volume. A full slate of NHL, NBA and college basketball games also helped.

However, GambetDC has failed to truly capitalize on the biggest sports betting event of the year. Users reported a widespread outage that shut down betting operations for Apple users during Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13. A third-party vendor failed to catch a glitch that apparently affected all iOS devices on the biggest betting event of the year.

That outage could severely hurt the February 2022 DC sports betting numbers.

As a lottery rep said in a statement following an avalanche of online complaints:

“We understand that the functionality and user experience can be enhanced. We are in the process of making significant enhancements to the user interface and players will have a better with GamBetDC.”

The Office of the DC Auditor has called for major changes to GambetDC. The Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG), though, has been slow to make any substantial improvements since its 2020 launch.

Photo by Shutterstock / Radostin Antonov Antonov
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, MLB.com and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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