DC bets on new sports betting app

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After taking a gamble on an obscure sports betting app, D.C. is teaming up with a known industry leader to run its betting operations.

D.C. gamblers will have access to FanDuel to place their bets, as the company that has the contract in D.C. pivots away from the subcontractor that ran the underperforming GambetDC, the Office of Lottery and Gaming says.

The Office of Lottery and Gaming expects to see one-and-a-half to two times greater revenue with FanDuel.

“I think that the mistake that was made is that instead of using multiple apps and throwing the whole District open to betting, we went down the course of having a single app operated by the D.C. Lottery,” former D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans said. “Now that was the chief financial officer at the time and the head of the lottery at the time then were very adamant that that’s the approach we should take.”

According to the Washington Business Journal, in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, only $69.6 million was wagered on GambetDC compared to $116.2 million wagered at the city’s five sportsbooks at Nationals Park and elsewhere.

Evans, an early champion for sports betting in the District, also thinks the switch to FanDuel will bring in more revenue.

“Particularly the guarantees that FanDuel is making right up front exceed what we’re taking in right now, anyway, and then the next part of this is the entire lottery contract that Intralot has is coming up for renewal,” Evans said.

That was a no-bid contract, Evans said, but Mayor Muriel Bowser said the contract this time will be put up for competitive bids.

Last month, the American Gaming Association reported D.C.’s sports betting revenue was down by 17% in 2023, likely hurt by the troubled sports betting app.

Brian Vasile, who owns Grand Central Restaurant, Bar and Sportsbook in Adams Morgan, sees the move to FanDuel as a good thing.

“I think it’s the right decision for D.C. and actually for the D.C. gamer. You know, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” he said. “I think it brings more people to the space who maybe have heard some negative things about Gambet.”

When FanDuel takes over, which is uncertain at this point, it will also take over the betting kiosks in restaurants and bars in the city.

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