Lawmaker in Washington DC aims to create open sports betting market

DC Open Sports Betting
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A bill is being introduced to create an open sports betting market in the nation’s capital.

Council member Kenyan McDuffie has announced plans to introduce a measure, the Sports Wagering Amendment Act of 2024, to create an open market in D.C. as the jurisdiction’s exclusive sports betting platform continues to struggle. The platform, GambetDC, holds exclusive rights to online wagering in D.C. and is powered by Greek gaming solutions supplier Intralot. Over the years, GambetDC has received complaints from users across D.C. for its unfavorable odds, poor performance, and complexity.

In 2019, Intralot secured a five-year contract to develop and deliver GambetDC to bettors.

“Changing a broken system is more complicated, frankly, than starting up sports wagering from scratch,” McDuffie told the Washington Post. “But the general idea we need more competition in our city sports wagering program is something I support, and I think others will support as well. And it’s what our consumers have been demanding.”

McDuffie’s bill, which will be introduced on March 22, proposes to amend D.C.’s lottery and gaming law to include a new class of wagering licenses for online operators. Under the measure, the Class C licenses would be awarded in partnership with a pro sports team.

The bill would also allow wagering across D.C. as the jurisdiction’s current laws only allow bettors to use traditional sportsbooks within a two-block radius of Capital One Arena, Audi Field, and Nationals Park. Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoyas, has a brick-and-mortar Caesars Sportsbook while Nationals Park hosts retail operations for BetMGM. Audi Field is home to a FanDuel retail sportsbook.

The facility, which opened in 2018, is home to D.C. United and the Washington Spirit.

McDuffie believes his measure will drive profits for D.C. as competition increases. The bill would require Class C operators to pay $2 million for a wagering license, which lasts for five years. In order to renew a license, operators must dish out $1 million.

The licensees are also be required to pay a 30% tax rate on sports betting revenue.

Since 2020, GambetDC has generated $4.3 million in revenue for D.C. compared to a projected $84 million by lawmakers in the jurisdiction.

A new provider in D.C.

Last week, the Office of Lottery and Gaming announced that FanDuel has been named a subcontractor of Intralot following the myriad of complaints about GambetDC. The deal will allow bettors across D.C. to place bets from FanDuel’s app without geographical restrictions. As part of the pact, Intralot will pay a $5 million fee within FY2024.

FanDuel will go live with wagering this spring and will also replace GambetDC kiosks.

Despite the looming presence of FanDuel, bettors in D.C. continue to have limited options.