Sports betting in Washington D.C. is an unfinished product. Multiple operators may start popping up with a unique set of rules and restrictions that allows private businesses to set up their own sportsbooks with their own handpicked operators.
That could provide a real silver lining to legalized sports betting in the district because GambetDC isn’t the answer. The district’s lottery-run product has drawn the same negative reviews as the ScoreBoard app in Oregon and the Sports Bet Montana product. Both are run through the state lottery and both are operated by Intralot.
For ill-informed bettors, the GambetDC app looks to be just fine. It is functional and easy to use. The betting options are well-defined and the menus are crystal clear. The live betting interface is also pretty user-friendly.
If you’ve heard the expression “lipstick on a pig” before, that is basically what the look of GambetDC can be summed up as.
This may be a user-friendly app, but it is far from player-friendly. Perhaps things will change as more competition is introduced into the District of Columbia, but the biggest feature GambetDC right now is unfair odds. The standard vigorish in the app is -118, so instead of $100 bettors being able to bet $110 to win $100 like most of the betting apps, GambetDC requires bettors to bet $118 to win $100 if that is their standard unit size.
Unfortunately, the United States is full of novice bettors that don’t really know the impact of high juice and unfair odds. Many recreational bettors are going to bet on the GambetDC app anyway without realizing the consequences of those actions. It makes it a LOT harder to win long-term when you are betting into bad prices. The overriding sentiment is going to be something like “At least I can bet. I couldn’t before.” And that’s fine. And that really is why GambetDC and Intralot are able to get away with what they are doing.
If you don’t know what the industry standard is for odds, you won’t know that what GambetDC is doing is dead wrong. We’re all about being honest and transparent here at ATS and there is nothing honest about this business practice from Intralot and GambetDC.
For those that don’t have any other option, which is the case in both Oregon and Montana, it is remarkably challenging to do anything except bite the bullet. In Washington D.C., with neighboring states on the legalized sports betting bandwagon, it would be in your best interest to sign up in another state and then go across the border to bet rather than use GambetDC and the unfair odds.
Maryland and Virginia are moving forward with sports betting. New Jersey and Pennsylvania already have it. Once Maryland and Virginia get fully up and running, GambetDC should reap what it has sown with the unfair odds.
That being said, the convenience of GambetDC is and will continue to be a selling point. Because GambetDC is run through the district lottery, kiosks have been installed at bars, restaurants, and other lottery-approved retailers. Along with a mobile app that is accessible across most of the district, some will view the unfair odds as the price worth paying for convenience.
GambetDC does not work in federal buildings nor does it work within two blocks of the sports venues. Geofencing technology will ensure that you are in a place where legal betting is allowed. The sports venues, such as Capital One Arena, are private businesses capable of setting up their own operations and betting in or around those venues was a provision that council members fought hard to block.
GambetDC looks fine. It works fine. It is convenient with so many ways of using it, including the website and the app. It just has unfair odds that take advantage of bettors that have limited options.