FanDuel Monopoly Sparks Rivals to Seek Entry in DC’s Mobile Betting Market

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In less than a month, FanDuel has emerged as the only mobile sportsbook provider in Washington, DC, sparking rival companies to raise their voices and petition for entry into the digital betting landscape of America’s political capital.

Just this very week, company representatives from notable gaming players BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and Fanatics Betting & Gaming presented their case before the Business and Economic Development Committee of the Washington, DC City Council. The council includes a notable figure, Kenyan McDuffie (I-At Large), who had proposed the Sports Wagering Amendment Act of 2024 in March. Upon approval, this highly anticipated piece of legislation would break the single-provider status quo and allow a wider collection of gaming operators to dive into mobile betting within DC’s borders.

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While FanDuel’s ascendancy from the controversial GamBetDC mobile application is considered a wise choice by the DC City Council, there has been cautionary murmuring among industry operatives. They suggest the city may miss out on crucial revenue by fostering an online sports betting monopoly.

Brandt Iden of Fanatics astutely observed during the council meeting, “Consumers are either traveling to the surrounding states to wager or, worse yet, placing wagers in the illegal offshore market, where there are no responsible gaming protocols to protect customers.” Iden underscored this point by revealing that nearly two-thirds of the operator’s customers from Maryland and 10% from Virginia have made attempts to use the app within the confines of DC.

Despite being the only mobile sports betting option currently available in Washington, FanDuel’s dominant placement is equally due to Intralot’s step back. The Greek company initially spearheaded the GamBetDC venture, handing over reins and responsibilities to FanDuel. Intralot’s contract with the city extends until mid-2025. Consequently, the question of what it would take to deem that contract invalid—thus expanding the entrants into the DC sports betting market—remains unresolved. In addition, bars, restaurants, and petite retailers in the District are tense about the potential decline or loss of their revenue stream from sports wagering kiosks, should mobile betting spread thoroughly across DC.

Barbara Lang, the esteemed former CEO and president of the Washington, DC Chamber of Commerce, voiced to the council the significant impact of sports betting kiosks in attracting and sustaining customers for some petite businesses. She warned the committee, “A competitive, mobile-dominated system would completely squeeze out retailers looking to generate revenue from in-person gaming.”

All of the gaming companies aforementioned have established their mobile sports betting services in Maryland and Virginia. BetMGM and Caesars notably also operate physical sportsbooks at DC’s sport stadiums. Just like their competitors, they’re eager to tap into DC’s mobile betting scene. The appeal is evident when looking at FanDuel’s impressive record where bettors already placed $14 million in wagers through the application within two weeks of launching. However, breaking away from the existing arrangement with Intralot may prove troublesome given the leverage the Greek company holds.

Expressing his vexation, McDuffie stated in a candid tone, “I think the District of Columbia, the nation’s capital, should be in a better situation today, on May 6, than we are. We should not have to make a decision under duress about generating revenue with a company that has failed miserably at managing our sports wagering operation. I think there’s a case to be made that they shouldn’t be a part of it.”
Weaving a fine line between opportunity and caution, this swiftly expanding horizon for online sports betting in the nation’s capital continues to attract an interesting array of industry movers and shakers looking to wager their own bets on Washington, DC.