Even the pent-up demand to bet on US sports isn’t enough for bettors in Montana and Washington DC to consider Intralot‘s offensive lines.
Handle from both operations combined since launch earlier this year through mid-August was less than $6 million. Of course, major sports started to shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, so there wasn’t a ton to bet on.
“You might go to 7-Eleven to buy a gallon of milk but you’re not shopping there,” said Robert Walker, director of sportsbook operations at US Bookmaking. “That’s the analogy I would use for these guys that are killing the customers with these numbers. Eventually, they’ll stop playing there. I think it’ll be sooner rather than later and it’d be tomorrow if somebody came in with a better product.”
Intralot did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Intralot prices hurting legal markets
Bettors have to look no farther than Intralot’s standard pricing on MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL games to see the difference between many other legal US sports betting operations.
Even with novice bettors, it won’t take long for them to understand Intralot’s offerings are much more expensive than traditional 20-cent lines.
“It puts a bad taste in the local bettors’ mouth to have these – noncompetitive is not even the right word – these very, very conservative, one-sided wager potentials that are out there,” said Josh Swissman, founding partner of The Strategy Organization.
Those prices eventually put a chokehold on a market, Swissman said. A look at initial results since launch suggests both markets are barely breathing in the first place.
Very little action since launch
Diving into the results of Montana’s retail-only and DC’s online-only operations powered by Intralot shows the lack of interest in its product.
Almost all sports shut down soon after launch. Montana also had a stay-at-home order through late April.
DC, I mean …
GambetDC, which delayed its March launch until May 28, has no good excuse. Through August 18, the platform took just $2 million in handle on 78,475 bets since it launched.
That would be an astonishingly low total even if it only ran through July 22. But that handle is hard to fathom considering it includes nearly a month of MLB games and a full slate of NBA and NHL games since the beginning of August.
The US sports betting industry will get a better idea of just how Intralot is fairing against competitors next month. That’s when the DC Lottery will begin releasing monthly reports with data from the market’s private operators like William Hill.
Expensive lines could send bettors offshore
Montana, on the other hand, only offers retail betting through Intralot. And even though Intralot is the only licensed operator in the state there are always other options, Walker said.
“People want to bet legally, but once you teach them how to bet they’re going to look for options that are more valuable,” he said. “They’re not going to throw their money away on a product that looks to be gouging them.”
Swissman added that the monopoly enjoyed by Intralot in Montana might sour people altogether.
“There’s just huge lack of interest and lack of uptake,” Swissman said. “And if you’re in a place like Montana, where that’s the only thing going, that only gives you one other place to go.”
Another Intralot operation launching this winter
A third state, New Hampshire, will be introduced to Intralot’s unattractive offering later this year or early in 2021.
But the New Hampshire Lottery is also getting in on the action with SPORTS 603, powered by Intralot at the state’s 1,300 lottery retail locations. Intralot initially expected to launch this earlier this year but the current timeline is this winter, the Lottery said.