Washington DC July Handle Up $12 Million YOY, But There’s A Catch

Posted on August 18, 2021

Compared to this time last year, Washington, DC July handle for 2021 is a boon. That growth of more than $12 million in dollars wagered on sports betting isn’t properly understood without key details, however.

The world of wagering in the nation’s capital last summer looked very different than it does now. When cast against the market’s potential in a different regulatory scheme, that $12 million in bets actually leaves something to be desired.

The numbers beyond DC July handle

According to the DC Lottery, bettors in the District put down more than $12.8 million in wagers last month. In July 2020, DC bettors handed over just $741,450.

Things don’t look so rosy in a month-over-month comparison, though. June 2021 saw $19.5 million in dollars wagered. Thus, the money is down by just over a third from the previous month.

That tells us that Olympics betting couldn’t boost bettor interest. The Washington Nationals being below .500 and trading off stars like Max Scherzer didn’t help, either.

However, the sportsbooks’ take of bettors’ money actually did improve as compared to June. In that month, sportsbooks won about 10.7% of handle. Last month, DC sports betting apps held a little more 14%.

There was also some good news for the sportsbook tied to the Nationals in DC. Once again, bettors in the District are showing price is more important to them than convenience.

BetMGM claws its way into market share

BetMGM Sportsbook, only available on its app inside and within a two-block radius of Nationals Park in DC (as well as throughout Virginia), gained on both GambetDC and the Caesars By William Hill Sportsbook last month.

OperatorHandleHoldRevenue
William Hill$10,072,71912.2%$1,220,227
GambetDC$2,152,02320.1%$432,726
BetMGM$643,49823.1%$148,796
Totals$12,808,24014.1%$1,801,748

Compared to June, William Hill’s share of the market is down by more than two percent. GambetDC’s share also fell by about eight-tenths of a percent as well. The benefactor? BetMGM.

For William Hill, there’s a simple explanation. The Washington Capitals and Wizards are in their offseasons. Additionally, the Mystics took off much of July because of the Olympics.

For those reasons, Caesars didn’t get the benefit of events driving bettors to a two-block radius of the Entertainment & Sports Arena like BetMGM has with Nationals games. For GambetDC, the problem is more baked-in.

Same old story with GambetDC

As the only online sportsbook that’s legal to accept bets throughout the District, GambetDC should be killing it. Why isn’t that the case? A lack of competitive odds is a big reason.

Take Tuesday night’s Mystics game against the Las Vegas Aces, for example. While both BetMGM and William Hill had the Mystics +9.5 at -110, GambetDC had the same spread at -125.

The Aces covered, but just barely, winning by 10. Had Washington shaved a point off that score, a $100 wager at BetMGM/William Hill would have paid out $10.91 more than the same bet at GambetDC.

If BetMGM continues to eat away at GambetDC’s market share, perhaps that will provide enough incentive for the DC Lottery and Intralot to move their lines. Until then, it’s hard to blame bettors for opting to hop in their cars and drive over to one of the stadiums.

Photo by AP / Tony Avelar
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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