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DC Set to Take Sports Betting License Applications

Published December 01, 2019

The road to legal sports betting in our nation's capitol has been littered with delays and controversies. Despite it all, we stand on the brink of seeing legal sports betting take place in Washington, DC. The Office of Lottery and Gaming will begin taking applications for sports betting licenses on Tuesday, December 3, followed by an application review period expected to last 30-45 days.

The desire for legal sports betting in Washington, DC, continues to propel the industry forward in the state, despite ongoing controversy with some aspects of the topic. The District previously handed a city-wide monopoly on mobile sports betting to Greek lottery partner, Intralot. The move was challenged in federal court by Dylan Carragher, who filed suit saying that the lack of bidding process prevented himself and others from having an opportunity to receive the contract.

The court has temporarily put a stop to Intralot's mobile sports betting operation in Washington, DC, until arguments on both sides of the issue can be heard. Until then, the District is moving forward with other sports betting avenues. Licenses can be issued for up to four sports venues, which includes both retail and mobile licensing. Licenses can also be issued to other venues, such as bars and restaurants, who wish to offer retail betting even though it is not their primary business.

 

Monumental Sports & Entertainment

One of the early big winners in the DC sports betting market is expected to be Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Monumental owns Capital One Arena, as well as the NBA's Washington Wizards and the NHL's Washington Capitals.

The company solidified it's interest in being one of the four sports venues to obtain a sports betting license by entering into a partnership agreement with sportsbook operator, William Hill. The two companies agreed to terms last October that will allow William Hill to operate the sports betting operations at Capital One Arena when the license is received.

A special provision under DC's sports betting law allows Venues that partner with a sports betting provider already licensed in another state, to begin operating earlier with a provisional license, while waiting for their main application to be processed. This gives sports venues like Capital One Arena a strong competitive advantage in the early days of the DC sports betting market.

 

Mobile Betting Challenges

Although retail sports betting is rapidly approaching, mobile sports betting in the District of Columbia will experience delays in availability. Not only is the court injunction against Intralot still in place, but there are also geolocation concerns unique to the DC landscape that existing providers may not be equipped to service.

Sports betting is allowed in Washington, DC, except on any property that is federally owned. Obviously, there is a lot of federally owned land in the nation's capitol, to the sum of 18 square miles worth. With specific buildings and acreage dotting the city as hyper-local no betting zones, the city has been described as a geolocation minefield.

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