Some Washington, DC, sports bars will soon roll out self-service GambetDC kiosks for sports betting.
Those small businesses are already celebrating the potential boost to their bottom lines.
The terminals could help the struggling DC sports betting market, specifically the DC Lottery-backed GambetDC. After all, unlike the GambetDC online app, kiosks users won’t need to register for an account to place a wager.
Could that ease of use also lure in some Maryland sports bettors?
Where GambetDC kiosks are located
In a press release, the DC Lottery isn’t couching its language. It says this new program, which launches this Thursday, July 29, will allow local business to “open their own sportsbooks.”
With the GambetDC kiosks, patrons can place and cash in their bets in each business. The first wave of self-service sports betting terminals will be located at:
- Ben’s Next Door (1211 U St. NW)
- Dirty Water (816 H St. NE)
- Lou’s City Bar (1400 Irving St. NW)
- Takoma Station Tavern (6914 4th St. NW)
You must be 18 or older to place a bet, and only cash (no credit cards) is accepted. Each current location is expected to have 3-4 GambetDC kiosks. However, as more businesses install the kiosks (up to 30 by year’s end), bigger ones could have more terminals.
This Friday, July 30, each current location is hosting special events from 7 p.m. to midnight to celebrate.
According to the announcement, the events will feature local sports figures, including Brian Mitchell, Rick “Doc” Walker, Fred Smoot, and Santana Moss. Organizers will also have special programming and prizes for attendees.
What’s in it for new DC sportsbooks?
So what’s in it for the current quartet of popular sports bars, which are still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic?
The DC Lottery is paying a 5% commission on all sports betting sales and a 1% commission on the cashing of sports betting products.
As Kamal Ali, owner of Ben’s Next Door, stated:
“The pandemic was the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to experience; we lost 85% of our staff. Getting our night shift back has helped, but there still is work to be done. Now we’ve got this new way to bring people in for them to have fun, and it’s going to be wonderful.”
Are the new kiosks intriguing enough to draw business from Maryland? After all, the first legal MD sportsbooks are still probably a few months away from opening. That means online and retail sports betting in Maryland aren’t yet available.
However, the novelty of the DC sportsbook kiosks might provide a temporary reason for Maryland sports bettors to venture to DC in the meantime. Still, bettors might be best served to visit Nationals Parks (BetMGM) or Capital One Arena (William Hill). Each venue has retail and online sports betting, though internet-based wagering is geofenced in approximately a two-block area around the facility.
Additionally, with largely unattractive odds and other limitations, GambetDC hasn’t made much of a splash since its debut. Savvier bettors are likely to seek out the better options in the district.