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FanDuel To Take Over Washington D.C. Online Sportsbook Operations

Written By J.R. Duren on March 13, 2024
Workers At The FanDuel Sportsbook

Washington D.C. has experienced a changing of the guard, and it has nothing to do with the presidency.

The D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming, which oversees sports betting in the capital city, announced it has chosen FanDuel as its sole city-wide sports betting operator. FanDuel takes over for Intralot, which failed to produce meaningful handle and revenue numbers since sports betting launched in May 2020.

“FanDuel’s industry-leading offering will ensure that the District maximizes revenue under its existing contracts this year while delivering a best-in-class experience for 18+ residents,” OLG Executive Director Frank Suarez said in the DC Lottery newsroom.

The OLG projects FanDuel will launch this spring.

How FanDuel became Washington D.C.’s sports betting operator

Like a few other markets in the US, Washington D.C.’s law allows for a single online sports betting operator that is available throughout the entire district. Other online sportsbooks are available within strictly enclosed parts of DC.

For the past four years, Intralot’s proprietary GamBetDC app has filled that role. However, the operator couldn’t generate a lot of handle (total amount bet) or revenue.

For example, over the past five months, GamBetDC generated $29.8 million in handle and around $3.1 million in revenue. That number is relatively paltry when you consider that roughly 678,000 people are estimated to live in the city, according to the Census Bureau.

Wyoming, which also has legal online sports betting, has around 100,000 fewer people than D.C. and no professional sports teams, yet consistently generates two to three times as much handle as D.C.

Additionally, GamBetDC’s sports betting app was notoriously glitchy. Fox5 DC reported that some bettors were saying the app didn’t work for iPhone users for most of the Super Bowl in 2022.

That led Suarez and Intralot, the lottery contractor that oversees the city’s online sports betting, to look for a new sports wagering operator. According to The Washington Post, at a D.C. Council hearing in January, Suarez said:

“It’s no secret that the private operators have a very strong brand, so they’re really able to use that branding and that advertising to draw in more players. We want a bigger brand. We want something that players are used to and highly satisfied with, which is why we’re looking to make the change.”

How Washington D.C. online sports betting will change in the FanDuel era

FanDuel’s sports betting app is almost certain to generate more revenue than GamBetDC for two reasons: brand recognition and app quality.

FanDuel is a widely recognized brand that consistently generates the most handle in multiple markets across the country. FanDuel has already been operating in Washington, DC, on a limited basis via a partnership with DC United of MLS. Thus, this partnership with the DC Lottery will represent an expansion of the app’s availability.

DC residents should take note because FanDuel’s app is among the best. It offers a seamless sports betting experience with multiple wager types. Also, it would be unheard of for iPhone or Android users to lose access to the FanDuel app during a critical sporting event like the Super Bowl.

With brand recognition and a positive user experience on its side, FanDuel (OTCMKTS: PDYPY) should boost D.C. online sports betting numbers quickly.

Handle numbers will be relatively low through the spring, which is a general trend across all markets. Despite that, we should see improved year-on-year numbers in the range of 20% to 30%.

Once the NFL season starts, a conservative estimate would put handle at more than $10 million in October and November and close to $15 million in December. For comparison, GamBet’s December 2023 handle was $5.7 million.

Photo by AP Photo/Wayne Parry, File
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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