D.C. Sportsbooks Won’t Open Until June, 2021

Photo: DC Fast Sports

The Washington Business Journal is reporting that the D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming doesn’t expect to launch retail sports betting until the summer of 2021 — more than six months after its most recent estimate — citing delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Rollout of the retail network component of GambetDC, which was initially slated for this fall, has been pushed to summer of 2021. The pandemic has presented physical, operational and some personal challenges upon the lottery and upon our small business retailer partners across the city,” Bresnahan said at the June 3 oversight hearing. “We have worked these past few months to keep our core functions and services safely operating, while continuing to carry out our mission of generating revenue for the District’s General Fund.”

The delay of retail betting is just the latest hurdle in the District’s rocky rollout of legalized sports betting, which also faces a lawsuit over a $215 million sole-source contract the city issued to Greek gaming firm Intralot to operate its mobile online gaming platform. That suit is still being appealed.

D.C. gaming officials have removed all $9.6 million in sports wagering revenue from projections for fiscal 2020, according to Lottery Executive Director Beth Bresnahan, who testified during a June 3 budget oversight hearing before the D.C. Council’s committee on business and economic development.

Last Thursday The DC Lottery announced the launch of its online sports wagering platform in Washington D.C., though the roll out of a supporting mobile app has again been delayed until June. Developed in partnership with Intralot, the Gambet DC platform had been due to go live in March, but the launch was pushed back due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Current application status.


Timeline To  A Wager

On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to nullify the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the federal law that prohibited sports gambling in all but a handful of areas.

The possibility of legal DC sports betting first appeared in September 2018. That’s when DC Councilmember Jack Evans introduced the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018.

The bill received a hearing in October and then underwent a major change before coming before the council for approval in late November. Evans amended the bill to include an integrity fee of 0.25 percent of revenue.

That proposal swiftly disappeared from the legislation via a unanimous vote of the council, leading to lobbying for its return by a strange alliance of leagues and operators.

The next battle came a week later. Evans pushed for a single-operator model run by the lottery, while DraftKings, FanDuel, and others pushed for at least five licenses to be available. An amendment proposed to include multiple operators failed and the lottery retained the primary rights to operate DC sports betting.

On October 29th, 2018, the NHL named MGM Resorts the first official sports betting partner of the League.

In early November, 2018, the league entered into a partnership with FanDuel. The multi-year deal made FanDuel the official daily fantasy sports partner and an official sports betting partner for the professional hockey league via its FanDuel Sportsbook.

On December 18, 2018, the D.C. Council passed the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018, which Mayor Muriel Bowser signed in January. The next month, the D.C. Council gave final approval to the bill fast-tracking sports betting.

Act 22-594, the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018, as amended by Act 23-2, was signed into law on January 23, 2019, and transmitted to the U.S. Congress for review on February 7, 2019. This legislation cleared congressional review and became law on May 3, 2019. The law legalized sports wagering in the District of Columbia.

In March of 2019, the NHL announced that they had brought sports book operator William Hill on board as an official sports betting partner of the NHL.

On March 27th, 2019, Monumental Sports and Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis confirmed that the Greene Turtle restaurant at Capital One Arena will become a sportsbook. Leonsis made the comments during the American Gaming Association’s Sports Betting Executive Summit at MGM National Harbor.

In July of 2019, Former American Gaming Association (AGA) executive Sara Slane announced that she will work as a consultant for the National Hockey League (NHL), advising its teams on sports betting strategies. Slane’s consulting company, Slane Advisory,  is based in Washington, D.C.

On October 3, 2019, betting firm William Hill WMH PLC and the owner of Washington’s basketball and hockey teams announced a partnership to open a sports-betting venue inside the district’s Capital One Arena, in what would be the first wagering establishment inside a major-league sports venue in the U.S. The sportsbook is expected to open as soon as 2020, depending on regulatory approval. Financial terms weren’t disclosed for the deal between the American subsidiary of U.K.-based William Hill and Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner of the NBA’s Wizards, WNBA’s Mystics and NHL’s Capitals.

On May 28, 2020, The DC Lottery announced the launch of its online sports wagering platform in Washington D.C., though the roll out of a supporting mobile app has again been delayed until June. Developed in partnership with Intralot, the Gambet DC platformhad been due to go live in March, but the launch was pushed back due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Players in the state can now register for an account via the Gambet website and place sports wagers, though options are currently limited due to the ongoing suspension of many major sports events as a result of the outbreak. Per sports wagering laws in Washington D.C., betting will be permitted on all major sports events and collegiate sports, though players will not be able to bet on events featuring college teams located in the state.

On June 4, 2020,  The DC Lottery announced the launch of its online sports wagering platform in Washington D.C., though the roll out of a supporting mobile app has again been delayed until June. Developed in partnership with Intralot, the Gambet DC platform had been due to go live in March, but the launch was pushed back due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Current application status.

On June 8, 2020 The DC Lottery announced yet another delay in opening retail sports betting in the District. The D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming doesn’t expect to launch retail sports betting until the summer of 2021 — more than six months after its most recent estimate — citing delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply