BetMGM, Caesars Join Washington, DC Sports Betting Expansion


Posted on: July 10, 2024, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: July 10, 2024, 01:37h.

Washington, DC’s mobile sports wagering market will open to multiple competitors next week, stripping FanDuel of a brief monopoly.

The BetMGM sportsbook at Nats Park in Washington, DC. The operator will be offering mobile sports betting in the city starting next Monday. (Image: WTOP)

Starting Monday, BetMGM will be live with mobile betting in the District and there are indications Caesars Sportsbook will also be available citywide on July 15. Currently, BetMGM runs a retail sportsbook at Nationals Park and can offer mobile wagering within two blocks of the stadium. Likewise, Caesars runs a retail book at Capital One Arena and, like rivals that aren’t FanDuel, is limited in the scope of its Washington, DC sports betting expanse.

The city’s move to at least three mobile operators from one is rapid. Two weeks ago, the City Council added an amendment to the fiscal 2025 budget proposed by council member Kenyan McDuffie’s (I-At Large) to expand DC’s mobile sports wagering market. It appears the budget, which was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), is paving the way for sports betting competition.

In May, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and Fanatics were among the gaming companies that testified before the city council’s Business and Economic Development Committee in a bid to get the council to open the market.

FanDuel Probably Not Pleased

FanDuel, a unit of Flutter Entertainment (NYSE: FLUT), likely isn’t keen on Washington opening its mobile wagering market to competitors.

In April, the operator took the reins in the city after the city council allowed Intralot to subcontract its duties to a third party. Initial monthly data confirm the city was wise to shed the struggling GambetDC app and allow Intralot to outsource its responsibilities because gross gaming revenue (GGR) and handle have surged with FanDuel, meaning more tax revenue is flowing to the city.

Not surprisingly, FanDuel previously indicated to the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) that would seek to scrap its agreement with the city if the sports betting market was opened to other entrants. Flutter has yet to publicly comment on DC’s expansion plans, but FanDuel has made clear to the City Council that it has the right to terminate its contract.

“Should Subtitle R be enacted, FanDuel will transition its operations in the District under its Class A license under the new regime consistent with its pre-existing contractual relationship, and invoke its termination right under the subcontract,” wrote FanDuel President Christian Genetski in a June letter to councilmembers.

DC Sports Betting Expansion Could Harm Kiosk Operators

Retail businesses such as bars and restaurants that are home to more than 60 sports betting kiosks across the District previously told the city council that they’re fearful that broader expansion of the city’s mobile sports betting market could pinch the revenue they generate from those machines.

FanDuel branding is now on those devices and the operator told the council that it will cease supporting those machines if the market is opened to other competitors.

Speaking of those rivals, it’s possible that DraftKings and Fanatics could enter the DC market as well, but they need to partner with a professional sports team there. BetMGM and Caesars already have those relationships, hence they can commence with offering mobile sports wagering next week.

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