William Hill Launches Sportsbook App In Washington DC, Which Is Likely To Widen Gap With Lottery Offering

Posted on December 30, 2020

The bettors of Washington DC have already shown they will sacrifice some convenience rather than plan on a less-than ideal sportsbook app.

But the competition between William Hill and the DC Lottery’s Intralot-powered GambetDC looks set to become even more one-sided.

William Hill today announced it has added mobile betting to its existing retail presence inside the Capital One Arena.

Now bettors can place wagers through the app as long as they are within a two-block radius of the arena.

Of course, it’s not true mobile betting thanks the the geographical restriction. But it will let bettors avoid queues and peruse a wider range of markets.

One-sided fight between William Hill and Gambet DC

Recall, William Hill’s temporary sportsbook at the Capital One Arena took $13.7 million in bets in November.

That’s 3.5 times higher than the $3.9 million in handle GambetDC generated from DC sports betting that month. Gambet DC typically charges -118 on straight bets compared to -110 at Will Hill.

And the disparity will only widen with the William Hill app available. Will Hill also pointed out the temporary retail sportsbook will be replaced with a full-service option in “early 2021”.

Hill’s is the exclusive sports betting partner of the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, and Washington Mystics, who play at the Capital One Arena.

How does pricing impact sports betting market share?

The uneven contest between William Hill and Gambet DC also highlights the role of pricing in the US sports betting market.

Back in August, Entain CEO Shay Segev caused a stir by suggesting price might not be that important in the US.

Segev said: “We don’t see the US becoming some kind of price war. You want to aim for recreational players. There’s only a small group of players actively looking for best price.”

Segev of course has decades of experience in betting markets around the globe, where price simply isn’t as important as influential bettors would have you believe.

Would that be any different in the US?

“US betting twitter cares about price but that customer cohort is probably 0.1% of any book,” said Chalkline Sports co-founder Daniel Kustelski.

“If price always mattered people would only buy at Walmart and eat no-name brand corn flakes.”

Price as a hygiene factor

Essentially, for a small percentage of players, price is everything. But for the majority, it is more of a hygiene factor. In other words is, as long as the pricing is decent (say -110 on either side of an NFL game) then most people are happy.

However, Gambet DC and other Intralot-run books fail that hygiene factor test. But it doesn’t mean that going to -105 each side will suddenly double your market share.

In fact, that often attracts the shaper (unprofitable) customers while many of the recreational players don’t even notice.

Instead, odds boosts have proven to be a much more effective way of using price to attract and keep customers. These boosts are more akin to a supermarket reduction with players feeling they are getting a bargain.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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