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DC Lottery issues warning over illegal sports betting


The Washington DC Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) has warned consumers, media outlets and marketing agencies in the US capital city about the dangers of using or working with unlicensed sports betting operators.

While, land-based and mobile sports betting is legal in DC, but the OLG said it is aware of a number of outlets operating in its jurisdiction without the relevant license.

The OLG has therefore reiterated to consumers the issues they may encounter if they chose to place wagers with operators without a permit, including a lack consumer protections, integrity protocols, and anti-money laundering controls.

“Due to these concerns, the OLG recommends that consumers only engage sports wagering using companies licensed by OLG or offered directly by the District’s through the DC Lottery,” the OLG said.

The OLG also extended its warning to media outlets and marketing firms, saying that any business engaged in sportsbook advertising or related activities should exercise caution in endorsing unlicensed operators.

In addition, it highlighted how the use of intermediaries is also prohibited within the D.C. market. Also known as ‘runners’, intermediaries place bets on behalf of another consumer, whose identity remains undisclosed.

Any use of intermediaries is illegal, the lottery office warned, and may result in criminal charges against both the bettor and runner.

“The OLG is committed to ensuring sports wagering offered in the District is conducted in a fair and safe manner,” the OLG said. “This starts with a rigorous license application process and continues with robust oversight of sports wagering licensee operations by the OLG.”

The DC Lottery launched its online sports betting platform in May of this year, and while the Intralot-powered Gambet app saw stakes jump 53.3% month-on-month in September, it still lags behind William Hill’s retail sportsbook in terms of both handle and revenue.

Consumers wagered a total of $3.3m via Gambet in September, winning $2.8m, which suggested revenue of $498,896, up 79.4% on August.

However, by William Hill’s retail-only offering at the US capital’s Capital One Arena, which opened in late July, took $12.2m in bets during the month, up 33.5% on August.

Players won a total of $10.9m with the retail sportsbook in September, leaving revenue of $1.3m, down slightly on $1.4m in the previous month.