Washington, DC Sets Record For Monthly Handle With October 2021 Sports Betting

Written By Dann Stupp on November 16, 2021
October 2021 Sports Betting

With a new operator and another month of football, October 2021 sports betting in Washington, DC, set a new monthly record for handle.

Washington, DC sports bettors built off September’s recent activity. As in Virginia, DC saw a big rebound with the return of NFL and college football the past few months.

However, it wasn’t all good news in the nation’s capital.

On one hand, the four DC sportsbook operators collected an all-time high in terms of monthly handle. Overall, players wagered $26.3 million with their October 2021 sports betting. However, on the other hand, after scoring a healthy 18.8% hold percentage in September, the operators saw the hold plummet to less than 6% in October.

A look at October 2021 sports betting in DC

As usual, Caesars by William Hill led the pack and earned the biggest October 2021 sports betting handle in DC.

Caesars offers a retail sportsbook at Capital One Arena. Customers can also access the Caesars online sportsbook in a two-block radius of the Washington Capitals‘ home arena.

With that setup, Caesars by WH accounted for $19.1 million of the overall $26.3 million October handle. That represents nearly three-quarters (72.6%) of the total.

However, after securing a hold of 20% in September, Caesars held just 4.9% in October.

Here’s the full breakdown:

Caesars by William Hill$19,071,916.464.9%$926,151.45
Grand Central$207,355.0820.7%$42,858.34

GambetDC, the DC Lottery-backed online app from Intralot, was second with $5.5 million in wagers. Players won $4.9 million, which created a hold of 8.9%.

BetMGM, which also offers retail betting and limited online wagering at Nationals Park, was third with $837,000 in wagers. However, the sportsbook, which also operates Caesars VA statewide and online in Virginia, had a rare losing month with a -2.0% hold.

Grand Central, the first Class B licensee in DC, collected approximately $207,000 in wagers with a massive 20.7% hold. October represented the first month of retail sports betting operations for the DC sports bar.

A record-breaking month for DC

With GambetDC’s near-monopoly in DC, the market will always have its problems – barring some significant legislative changes.

And the October 2021 sports betting numbers may be further proof that some changes could do the market some good.

DC had set a sports-betting record in September 2021 with $20.7 million in wagers. However, as in many other locales throughout the US, DC saw still a further jump last month – of more than 27%.

The October 2021 sports betting total of $26.3 million now represent the highwater mark and a new DC sports betting record.

GambetDC’s problems are well-documented and well-known by now. But as legislators and regulators have seen with the relative success of Caesars and BetMGM – and now Grand Central – giving DC sports bettors some options can boost the market.

Revenue woes in DC?

The DC sportsbooks operators failed to cash in during a busy October as they did in September.

The combined revenue of $1.6 million in October marks a significant slide from the $3.9 million they collected in September. It’s also a significant drop year-over-year, when they collected $3.5 million in October 2020.

However, as long as sportsbooks get the handle, which they assuredly did in October, their revenue will ultimately balance out in the long run.

Month-to-month may be volatile, but since the market inception, their hold percentage has held pretty steady at around 15%, far above the national average of 6-8%.

Now, with November approaching and the return of the NBA‘s Washington Wizards and NCAA men’s basketball, DC sports betting should see another big month.

Photo by Shutterstock / f11photo
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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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