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Washington D.C. Sees First Local Business Approved for Sports Betting License

Sports betting in Washington D.C. has been successful, considering the size of the jurisdiction. GambetDC, which is run by the lottery, is the only widespread mobile sportsbook in the jurisdiction. Additionally, BetMGM and William Hill are also live in D.C., but these operators have more restrictions.

The Washington D.C. Lottery is still expanding sports betting, and now local businesses have the opportunity to offer wagering.

Details of the expansion

Local businesses have the opportunity to offer GambetDC betting kiosks, but these would not be lucrative in the state. This made companies continue pushing for licenses, and the Washington D.C. Lottery has answered the call.

Elys Game Technologies was given a supplier license, and Grand Central LLC was awarded a Class B permit on August 26. The two companies submitted their applications last November. The pandemic and Elys’ acquisition of U.S. bookmaking delayed the process extensively.

GambetDC kiosks were just granted in July for local businesses, so the industry is just beginning to expand. The rollout for kiosks will continue throughout the end of the year. However, more businesses are expected to apply for licenses to take advantage of the industry’s lucrative potential.

Elys’ retail sports betting after NFL kickoff

The extensive licensing process did not give the businesses much time to launch sports betting before the NFL season kicks off on September 9. Elys has the goal of launching sports betting in October.

Class B licensees do not receive the two-block radius rule for mobile betting like BetMGM and William Hill. These operators are partnered with professional sports teams, and they can offer mobile betting outside their retail sportsbooks.

Yet, there will still be a market for these smaller sportsbooks to offer wagering. FanDuel will be joining the market as a Class A operator in the future, but Washington D.C.’s market is based on location.

Therefore, if a person is near a local sportsbook, they will likely not travel to a larger operator. The lack of widespread mobile betting in the state gives smaller businesses a chance to shine in the mobile sports betting market.

GambetDC failing compared to other sportsbooks

GambetDC has been a failure compared to BetMGM and William Hill Sportsbook. The sportsbook does not offer competitive odds, and that is the biggest issue. Intralot is the technology operator behind GambetDC.

CEO Byron Booth spoke about how the D.C. Lottery is to blame for the poor odds on the sportsbook.

He said,

“Books really are determined by their payout. … If the city decides it wants to stay in this space, either raise the payout to be competitive or restrict other options for legal gambling in the city”

“That’s the choice the city has to make. The payout drives the player. … D.C. sets the payout, and winning is everything. If you can win more, you’re going to like it. If GambetDC’s payout increases, even if it still pays less than MGM and William Hill on some games. You’ll see its revenues rise — I think the revenue is going to increase and be okay.”

The poor odds will hurt businesses that just elect to use kiosks.

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