Another thorn in the side of GambetDC has popped up in DC sports betting with a new BetMGM option.
A retail BetMGM Sportsbook opened Monday at Nationals Park. Retail sportsbooks at sports venues are a growing opportunity for operators to attract and retain bettors, company executives said.
“We’re constantly pushing the boundaries to deliver sports fans unique experiences, and that’s just what we’ve done with the new BetMGM Sportsbook at Nationals Park,” BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said in a statement. “Whether fans are attending baseball games or looking for a place to watch any sporting event, the BetMGM Sportsbook at Nationals Park is bound to be one of the most engaging sports viewing environments in the District.”
Meanwhile, the new sportsbook will add to the growing array of commercial options for DC sports betting. In December, the DC Lottery-run GambetDC took just about $5 million in bets, while BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook and Grand Central Restaurant, Bar & Sportsbook combined for $14.3 million — largely driven by Caesars and its former William Hill sportsbook at Capital One Arena.
DC sports betting on game day
Along with the retail sportsbook, BetMGM’s app is available within a two-block radius of Nationals Park. The app launched in June 2021.
DC law restricts district-wide mobile wagering to the GambetDC app offered through the lottery.
“Retail is very important to our strategy,” BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost told LSR last week. “For many people new to sports betting, they can ask questions, they can talk to people who can guide them through the process.
“Some people have bet a long time, while others look at it with interest but need a little more comfort, so for that segment of customers, retail is a terrific option and many start there and migrate online.”
The stadium also offers a solid base for the mobile app, as Prevost notes there is a lot of residential development in the area. But Prevost said the 80-plus baseball games per season and other events will provide a constant flow into the retail sportsbook right outside the Center Field Gate, across from the Nationals Team Store.
Options for DC BetMGM
The sportsbook is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight. Beyond betting, there is full food and beverage service as well.
For bettors, there are six betting windows as well as BetMGM kiosks.
The kiosks provide bettors with a more robust selection of bets than the windows and provide a next step in a bettor’s journey, Prevost said.
Sportsbook vs. lounge
Prevost said the retail sportsbook model at stadiums offers more upside than sports betting lounges at other stadiums, like the one BetMGM has at Empower Field at Mile High in partnership with the Denver Broncos. BetMGM will also open a sportsbook before the next NFL season at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, and is looking for a partner in Ohio.
The lounges offer a branded area for sportsbooks to maintain a touchpoint with customers, but bettors can only wager on phones. They are also only open on game days.
“This is a significantly different revenue opportunity,” Prevost said.
According to Prevost, the difference comes from three main points:
- DC’s sportsbook is open 365 days a year, rather than the eight or nine within a football stadium.
- A subset of bettors who only want to bet with cash and will not bet on phones.
- A place for kiosks, which offer cash betting options with the diversity of bets found on phones.
Growing DMV sports betting market
Greenblatt highlighted the sportsbook’s position as a hub within the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia region. BetMGM’s app launched Virginia sports betting in January 2021, while its retail sportsbook at Maryland‘s MGM National Harbor opened in December 2021.
GambetDC launched in May 2020, while William Hill, now Caesars, opened its sportsbook at Capital One Arena in July 2020. FanDuel Sportsbook submitted its application in partnership with DC United last summer.