How one bettor exploited DC’s state-run sports betting market
October 3, 2023

Washington, DC’s sports betting market is a unique one. Unlike other states where the market is partially open and has a limited number of licenses available, DC runs its own sports betting operation. If you’re going to DC soon and want to bet on your favorite sports team, forget about trying to access PointsBet or FanDuel. You’ll have to use GambetDC.

So how does a former data scientist use GambetDC to his extreme advantage, despite the limitations of having only one sportsbook available in the state? Let’s find out.

A quick overview of GambetDC

In 2019, Washington, DC, decided to join the growing sports betting industry by launching their own. However, they decided to do it differently. Instead of allowing private operators to do business within their borders, DC chose to handle it themselves. They signed a five-year contract with Greek company Intralot to run the day-to-day operations.

However, GambetDC isn’t exactly going according to how the District expected it to be. Bettors reportedly don’t like the app’s interface on the mobile app and retail kiosk. Analysts also criticized the odds they offered, which allegedly included twice as much “vigorish” as other commercial sportsbooks. Things got so unpleasant that bettors ventured out to neighboring Virginia to avoid dealing with GambetDC.

How did one savvy bettor use GambetDC to his advantage?

An unnamed data scientist eventually learned that Intralot’s odds varied significantly with other bookkeepers’ odds. Experts support his findings, with most analysts claiming that Intralot’s odds are often inaccurate and inefficient. A savvy bettor, such as the unnamed data scientist, can compare other bookkeepers’ odds with GambetDC’s and place a wager based on the discrepancy.

As it turns out, his strategy was effective. He made thousands of bets at a GambetDC retail kiosk, all of which were guaranteed to win. According to his and GambetDC’s records, he made over $1 million in wagers in a few months. Thanks to his bets, even the restaurant he frequents for its GambetDC kiosk has earned over $100,000 in commissions.

What is Washington, DC, doing about this bettor?

In light of this activity, the District decided to take several measures to curb the savvy bettor’s actions and prevent this from happening again.

First, DC sent the bettor a letter informing him that he would be limited to $60 per bet and a daily total bet limit of $1,000. This limit applies to both the app and retail kiosks. The District claims this limit protects him and other players from excessive wagering.

Next, DC changed its regulations on who they can limit and how. Thanks to this savvy bettor, DC can now limit anyone who supposedly spends too much time at the same retail kiosk, wagering large amounts of money.

How will this change affect sports betting in Washington, DC?

Although the long-term effects of the District’s limits remain to be seen, short-term data suggests that its actions directly affected how much bettors have been spending. They claim the limit is to help curb problem gambling, but bettors say it’s making an already undesirable betting platform even worse. Only time will tell whether GambetDC’s efforts will pay off or cause a mass exodus to their neighboring states.