Legal Sports Betting is Live in Washington D.C.

It is now possible to legally bet on sports online in Washington D.C. The district’s D.C. Lottery powered GambetDC platform was launched during the last week of May, albeit with not much to bet on due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The capital district is the fourth new legal sports betting market to open in 2020, after MichiganIllinois and Colorado. Things are indeed developing fast, and there are now already 18 legal sports betting markets open in the US

Here’s the ScoreMetrics Lab’s breakdown on everything you need to know about legal sports betting in Washington D.C.

An online sports betting monopoly in D.C.

Sports bettors in the capital district will be able to place online bets only via the GambetDC platform. That is a stark contrast to most states that have allowed online sports betting, with multiple sports gambling operators allowed to compete in the markets, which is healthy from a consumer standpoint.

The monopoly in Washington D.C. means that bettors will be looking at worse than usual odds. For example, instead of the “standard” -110 odds for either side of a spread bet, bettors seem to be getting -118 for most games that have already been opened on the GambetDC platform. 

That makes for $5 less won for each winning $100 bet, compared to the standard -110 odds. And the platform is offering less favorable odds for other types of investment methods as well, compared to operators in most other states. For active sports traders, this makes for a huge difference and will surely mean that many will choose to keep on using illegal offshore bookmakers for more sensible odds.

Limited gains for the district and the bettors

The capital district could be seen to have taken the opposite approach to that of Colorado’s, which we wrote about when the legal sports betting market opened there in the beginning of May:

”Unlike most other states, Colorado has allowed online registrations, deposits and betting right from the start. No in-person visits for signups are required. This makes it easy for consumers to start placing wagers, which in turn bodes well for the bookmakers and for generating tax revenues for the state.

The rules in place state that sportsbook operators have to partner with a casino in the state in order to enter the market. There are 33 casinos in Colorado, so there is plenty of room for partnerships, and all of the big players will likely try to enter the market fast.

DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers and BetMGM are already open for business for eager bettors. With more to follow, the market should be very good for consumers, and Coloradans can expect to see decent odds and plenty of signup bonuses from bookmakers.”

That type of consumer-friendly market will definitely lure people away from other, illegal options while giving new casual bettors a chance to lay wagers with fair odds. 

On the other hand, it is a bit naïve to expect that a monopoly will work and generate tax revenues for a market that has existed in the shadows for many years. Will the consumers keep on using the services of illegal bookmakers, or will Washington D.C. eventually adjust? 

As we wrote in our report on the growth of the legal sports betting market in the last two years, the states that have allowed a fully operational and competitive online betting market right from the start have been the ones that have seen the most action:

”In March 2020, almost $22 billion had been wagered since the PASPA was overturned in 2018, according to Legal Sports Report. Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania accounted for almost $19 billion of that number. 

Nevada is still the leader of the pack with a total handle of approximately $9.5 billion since the PASPA was overturned. But New Jersey is catching up fast at approximately $7 billion wagered. 

The Garden State has a hefty lead over the rest of the newcomers due to being the first state to legalize sports betting and going live in August 2018. Having a full mobile betting market in operation has certainly helped as well. 

The handle in Pennsylvania is around $2.3 billion after a year of legal sports betting in the state. Bettors in the Keystone State have also had full mobile options to choose from. 

We should probably expect the rest of the states with full mobile betting available (Colorado, Indiana, New Hampshire and West Virginia) to start catching up once they have had more time on the market.”

The states with limited markets or monopolies have been the ones with the smallest handle.

What's next for legal sports betting in the US?

North Carolina, Montana and Tennessee are expected to go live with legal sports betting markets in 2020. 

The ScoreMetrics Lab will keep you informed of all interesting developments in the US sports betting market. For an overview of the current legal status of sports gambling and how the landscape of the market has developed since the PASPA was overturned in May 2018, read our report “How Legal Sports Betting has Grown in the Past Two Years” here

And to get up and running with smart investing in the sports betting market, check out our head trader John Todora’s new book – “Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret”. It’s currently on sale for a limited time, so go get yours now!

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