The District of Columbia Office of Lottery and Gaming has received a $500,000 payout from Intralot — the operator of D.C.’s only sports betting app — as a result of that app crashing during the Super Bowl and costing the district potentially a lot of money in tax revenue.
Super Bowl Was Terrible Timing For Sports Betting App Crash
D.C. only has one official sports-betting app — GambetDC — and on the day of one of the biggest sporting events, it crashed.
The issue occurred on Super Bowl Sunday with the app not working on Apple devices. Sports bettors could still use the website, the Android app, or place in-person bets at retail locations. The technical issues came about due to an error with the update not being approved by Apple. It led to D.C. taking a reputation hit and losing revenue leading to the payout from Intralot.
“$65,000 of that was potential revenue loss that we estimated, $6300 was promotion cost,” D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming Director Frank Suarez said in a meeting with the D.C. Council. “We had a promotion during that incident for $10 in free bets so we wanted to make sure that we reimbursed us for that. The rest of it which is a little over $428,000, is for marketing that we can utilize to overcome some of that negative sentiment.”
Suarez said that there is no way to measure the reputational damage but that the D.C. OLG estimated how much it potentially lost with player registration.
“Being able to recoup what we believe we would’ve gotten in GGR was important,” he said. “And then being able to have additional marketing funds for branding so that we can reach out and acquire players.”
What’s going on in Maryland: Sports betting Hall of Famer explains how Maryland “Got it so wrong”
Upgrades To the App
Suarez said the OLG will revamp the GambetDC user interface to make it more user-friendly for sports bettors. With the app upgrade, the OLG will look to cut back on some of the negative reviews that have surrounded GambetDC.
“This is taking best practices across the apps that we see across the country from private operators and incorporating those and revamping the interface so it’s more user intuitive and streamlined,” Suarez said. “It’ll look very different from what we have today and seem very natural for folks that have been betting on other apps.”
Let’s Play Ball: Baltimore Orioles, AL East best bets for 2022 MLB season
Sports Betting Initiatives In 2022
In addition to the app revamp, Suarez discussed the betting initiatives for 2022 and what to expect in terms of sports betting in D.C.
There has been an increase in the GambetDC payout percentage to 90% as well as a new marketing strategy to better position the brand against competitors.
In the last six months, there have been 38 new retail betting options bringing the total to 42. Suarez said the OLG expects to continue to add retailers at a fast pace. Over-the-counter sales will be launched as well to go along with the self-serve terminals.
On top of the improvements to GambetDC, there is also the potential approval for a Class A license at Audi Field. If approved for the license, FanDuel would be the official sportsbook inside Audi Field because it has partnered with D.C. United, the Major League Soccer club that plays there.
It would be the third retail sportsbook to open in a professional sports venue in D.C. BetMGM opened one at Nationals Park and Caesars opened the first one in Capital One Arena.