Published: March 21, 2024

New D.C. bill seeks to boost mobile sports betting competition

A D.C. lawmaker wants to boost the city’s lackluster sports gambling operation through a bill that would overhaul the licensing system and create pathways for sports venues and teams to offer citywide, mobile sports betting.

Fast, informative and written just for locals. Get The 7 DMV newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning.
Announced Wednesday by D.C. Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie (I-At Large), the Sports Wagering Amendment Act of 2024 marks the latest attempt to stabilize D.C.’s sports gambling program following years of underperformance from GambetDC, the District’s lone citywide sports betting provider. McDuffie revealed at a January hearing that, following months of complaints related to its interface, odds and usability, GambetDC had brought the city just over $4.3 million since launching in 2020 — a far cry from the $84 million lawmakers had expected to see.
At the same hearing, Office of Lottery and Gaming Director Frank Suarez announced that his office was working with Intralot — the Greek company that in 2019 was awarded a five-year, no bid contract by the D.C. Council to develop GambetDC — to find a more popular betting provider to replace the platform and immediately improve the city’s financial returns. Last week as part of that plan, the lottery office announced that FanDuel would take over sometime this spring, with guarantees and projections to bring in much more revenue.

While the FanDuel solution could address immediate concerns with the GambetDC app, McDuffie said it still wouldn’t allow city gamblers to choose between platforms like they can in many states. He said it could also hamper District businesses that have invested in on-site retail sportsbooks, including the city’s three "class A” wagering facilities based at designated sports venues — FanDuel at Audi Field, Caesars Sportsbook at Capital One Arena and BetMGM at Nationals Park.

The sportsbooks at Capital One Arena and Nationals Park offer mobile platforms that are restricted to a two-block radius of the facility. If approved, McDuffie’s legislation would remove that geographical restriction for those big sportsbooks, allowing them to offer their mobile platforms citywide, with some exceptions. Perhaps more notably, the bill would also create a new type of mobile sports betting license available to sports teams who play at venues with an existing sportsbook; the Washington Nationals, Wizards, Capitals, Spirit and DC United would be immediately eligible, according to McDuffie’s office.


© Public Gaming Research Institute. All rights reserved.