First Local DC Sports Betting Business License Approved

Posted on September 1, 2021
DC sports betting
Posted By on September 1, 2021

Sports betting in DC is finally expanding to its local business community that wants to offer something other than GambetDC kiosks.

The regulator awarded Elys Game Technologies its supplier license and Grand Central LLC its Class B license Aug. 26, according to the application status report that received an update Tuesday after six weeks.

The two submitted their application packets last November, though the pandemic and Elys’ acquisition of US Bookmaking extended the process.

Local businesses only recently started to get into sports betting in DC in July. That is when GambetDC started rolling out its kiosks into bars and restaurants, which will continue through the end of the year.

Elys launching retail DC sports betting after NFL start

The lengthy licensing process, and the need to train staff and install betting hardware means Grand Central will not launch DC sports betting in time for the start of the NFL season Sept. 9.

Elys will launch retail betting “in or around October,” according to a company release. That operation will expand to include on-premise mobile next year.

Class B licensees do not get a two-block radius for mobile operations like professional sports organizations get with their Class A licenses. FanDuel Sportsbook‘s Class A application submitted in June remains under review in the latest update.

Intralot blames DC Lottery for GambetDC failures

It is the DC Lottery’s fault GambetDC is not competing with BetMGM and William Hill, Intralot‘s US CEO told the Washington Post.

The OLG makes all the decisions about GambetDC, from its design to its payouts, while Intralot simply provides the technology, Byron Boothe said. GambetDC needs to offer odds that are more competitive with those other private operators, he added:

“Books really are determined by their payout. … If the city decides it wants to stay in this space, either raise the payout to be competitive” or restrict other options for legal gambling in the city, he said. “That’s the choice the city has to make. The payout drives the player. … D.C. sets the payout, and winning is everything. If you can win more, you’re going to like it.”

If GambetDC’s payout increases, even if it still pays less than MGM and William Hill on some games, he said, “You’ll see its revenues rise — I think the revenue is going to increase and be okay.”

The Lottery has failed to hit its financial expectations for sports betting in DC, which it blamed on the pandemic. It could also be because the lottery gives Intralot 42.5% of gross sports betting revenue as part of the deal.

The Office of the DC Auditor is working on a report that examines GambetDC’s operations since launch. The sportsbook, which is the only one available throughout the District, was well behind William Hill in July market share.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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