Washington D.C. Planning to Allow Sports Betting by Start of NFL Season
Washington D.C. city officials declare a plan that would see legalized sports betting in the city by the start of the 2019 NFL season.
Starting in September, the Washington D.C. City Council has put a plan in place to allow four areas in the city to build sportsbooks and accept sports bets.
For now, D.C. residents will have to wait on a mobile app that should be ready around New Year’s Day of 2020, but in the meantime, they’ll be able to enjoy betting on NFL but not College Football in early September.
The measure does not have a provision currently for wagers to be made on collegiate sports.
Quickly passed by D.C. City Council in early December of 2018 after Councilman Jack Evans proposed the bill, the measure passed by a vote of 11-2.
The bill will tax gross revenue at a 10% rate with the licensing fee by sportsbooks to be set at an initial payment of $500,000.
Other businesses looking to partner with sportsbooks will receive a discounted initial fee, making it possible that other venues such as bars and restaurants could offer betting windows in the future.
Who is leading the charge for sports betting in D.C.?
Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has announced that he will attach a sportsbook to the Greene Turtle restaurant inside Capital One Arena. Patrons will not have to enter the arena to place a bet, instead, they’ll be able to enter through an outside entrance.
“There will be a sportsbook in the building accessible from outside, depending on the league, depending on the event, it may be accessible from the inside as well,” said Leonsis at the press conference.
Leonsis will undoubtedly be the canary in the coal mine when it comes to an actual owner of a professional sports team welcoming sports betting into his arena.
Whether other owners or the leagues will have an issue is still up for debate, although both Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, and Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA have signaled approval for legal sports betting and both leagues have signed agreements with sports betting companies.
Where will residents bet in Washington D.C.?
This is where the adoption of sports betting D.C. gets interesting because plans are in place for fans to bet at Capital One Arena where the Capitals of the NHL and the Wizards of the NBA call home.
This would be the first location available for sports betting in the United States that also doubles as a location where a professional sports team plays their games.
The D.C. sports gambling law zones a two by two block area around Capital One Arena, Audi Field (where the D.C. United MLS franchise plays), the St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena (where the Mystics of the WNBA and Go-Go G-League franchises play) and Nationals Park.
Not wanting to be left out, the Nationals, D.C.’s baseball team now want in on the action.
On opening day last week, Nationals owner Mark Lerner said, “We wanted (sports betting)…(and) we’ve come up with what I think is a very unique way to do it.
As for the location of the betting windows, Lerner said, “It won’t necessarily be in the park. We have to figure it all out yet. But we’ll announce it in the near future.”
“We’ve got our plans on how we’re going to do it, and it’s going to take a little bit of time, but we’re excited about the opportunity,” said Lerner. “I think it’s going to be a great thing for the city.”