A new account would open that Washington DC Sportsbook market to more district-wide cellphone operators and could end the relationship with DC intralot.
DC Council Member Elissa Silverman‘s legislation would add a new class of mobile DC sportsbook and prevent the council from seeking a five-year extension 2024. The bill would need to be passed or reintroduced by the end of the year 2023-24 legislature.
“We need to turn the page on this embarrassing episode,” Silverman said. “Residents deserve a working online app, taxpayers deserve a program that makes money for the district, and we all deserve a system where we don’t give huge contracts to a favored company and its subcontractors without even looking at the competition. “
Dear Council Members Brooke Pinto, Maria Cheh and Karl Allen introduced the bill.
DC sportsbook has consistently underperformed
GambetDC started accepting bets May 2020, but its exaggerated odds from the start left many bettors in bad taste, despite being the only app available in most of the district. Most chose to wait in line to bet in person William Hill kiosks on Capital One Arena despite the ongoing pandemic to get the best available rates.
The DC Lottery assumed so 80% payout ratio or 20% hold would work as it was planned to cater to casual bettors. The Office of Lottery and Gambling‘s managing director Frank Suarez admitted that was a mistake July 2022. At the same meeting, Silverman attempted to hold lottery officials accountable for the app being unavailable during the period super bowl bets
The insistence that the end of the pandemic would reverse performance resulted in consistently missed targets for DC online sportsbooks. The first full year of operation even resulted in a loss of 4 million dollars despite an initial forecast of $22.6 millionwhich was then lowered to $6.2 million.
Details on the new sports betting bill
Although the bill is only five pages long, Silverman also released a one-page statement about what would change their bill and why. The first headline is titled “The DC Sportsbook Program: A Disappointment.”
The bill would authorize Class C mobile sportsbooks, which could operate throughout the district barring states like GambetDC. The operators would pay a fifteen% tax after a 1 million dollars Registration fee for a five-year license. These apps could not be operated within the geofence location of class A operators BetMGM and Caesarsnor would they work in Class B retail books.
The bill would not only ban the adoption of Intralot’s option, but also require bidding on lottery contracts. Intralot only got the sports betting deal in 2019 because it was a partner of the lottery at the time.
GambetDC must also be “reasonably certain” of making a profit for the district in order to continue operating beyond that 2024.
Silverman wants to stop wasting tax dollars
Silverman voters are choosing to travel the short distance to use online sports betting in Virginia rather than using GambetDC or traveling to a geofenced mobile area, she said LSR.
Online sports betting in Maryland is gearing up to launch by the end of the year. That gives potential DC bettors another option, especially with launch promos.
But time is short this year. DC is on a two-year legislative cycle ending in late 2022.
Silverman hopes the bill will be postponed this year but is poised to reintroduce it January if needed.