Analysis

DC upends retail and online relationship

The tale of the tape from Washington D.C. would appear to turn the usual relationship between online and retail on its head.

According to the latest betting data from the District of Columbia, the Intralot-powered GambetDC sportsbook has taken a paltry $3.1m since launch in late May.

But the new William Hill-powered retail-only sportsbook at the Capital One Arena – home of the Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals – reported $9.1m of bets in its first month of operation in August.

In August GambetDC took just $2.1m in wagers and gross gaming revenue was just over a quarter of a million dollars.

Bad odds

The Wedge Index of the consumer gaming friendliness of each state awards less points to retail betting than to online and mobile. By rights, having online sports-betting should be a plus for the public. However, the citizens of D.C. clearly think otherwise.

Observers point the finger of blame for the GambetDC underperformance on the unfavorable trading odds offered by Intralot.

The hold percentage for GambetDC is a hefty 14.7%. The hold rate for William Hill is even higher – 15.6% in August – but this is due to the structural differences between retail and online.

The August hold percentage for GambetDC was 13%.

Average bet size

This difference between how the two businesses are performing is starkly illustrated by punters’ average bet size. While GambetDC hit an average bet size of $31.90, the William Hill retail business hit an average bet size of over $132.

The figures from William Hill were lauded by Ted Leonsis, founder of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Capital One Arena and the NHL and NBA teams that play there.

On Twitter, Leonsis said “William Hill US is a success” that “brings new business downtown, nearly 70,000 bets in the first month, generates needed jobs and taxes for our city and provides safe/legal entertainment options for our community. Fair odds and dollars back to sports fans.”

Speaking to GamblingCompliance.com, Joe Asher, chief executive at William Hill US, said the wagering amount for the business in August “speaks to the appetite” of bettors in D.C.

The temporary sportsbook in the Arena features only seven betting windows and 14 kiosks.

Jim Van Stone, president of business operations for Monumental Sports and Entertainment, said: “The demand has really been heightened, and I think there’s a lot of excitement in the district about the sports-betting opportunity.”

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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