The Washington DC sports betting market could lose its most popular place to bet, along with the Wizards and Capitals, should Owner Ted Leonsis’ relocation plans come to fruition.
On Wednesday, Leonsis and Virginia Gov. Glen Youngkin announced a $2 billion plan to move both pro franchises to Alexandria, Virginia, by 2028. That would leave Capital One Arena without a major professional sports team to host Caesars Sportsbook, which accounted for a leading 36% of all DC sports betting dollars in October.
A critical component in preventing that would be the WNBA‘s Washington Mystics taking up the vacancy left by both teams.
Could WNBA team save DC’s favorite sportsbook?
Leonsis’ Monumental Sports Group owns all three franchises. He indicated the Mystics may relocate from St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena to Capitol One under the plan.
“I also need to explain to everyone that we own Capitol One Arena. We also own the Washington Mystics. Women’s sports is transcendent,” Leonsis said, Wednesday, at a press conference in Alexandria.
“My belief is that at Capitol One Arena we can host women’s sports. Our intention is to expand here, and keep Capitol One Arena in DC a great place.”
Leonsis asked his audience to hold him accountable in “doing right by all the communities” his franchises serve.
Would Mystics embrace Washington DC sports betting?
A source familiar with the relationship between Monumental and Caesars indicated that the Mystics would likely take up the vacant Caesars partnership should they assume residency in the DC arena.
The Mystics are the only pro team in DC without an in-person sportsbook. A provision in the District’s gaming law affords each team a betting license.
A Spokesperson with Caesars did not respond to a request for comment.
Caesars leads Washington DC sports betting
GamBetDC, the District’s only sports betting app not confined to a physical location, accounted for 34% of all dollars bet in October, right behind Caesars’ in-person location. A physical betting location beating a mobile sportsbook is virtually unheard elsewhere in the US.
The platform, which has been marred by technical issues and maligned for noncompetitive pricing, is powered by Intralot.
BetMGM and FanDuel have in-person sportsbooks at other arenas. BetMGM’s mobile app is limited to a geofenced perimeter around its physical sportsbook at Nationals Park. FanDuel has not yet launched its mobile app, which would be limited to a perimeter around Audi Field. Neither location is particularly close to Capital One Arena.
Virginia sports betting impact
Leosnis’ plan already has the blessing of Gov. Youngkin, though it will need approval from the General Assembly. Should it pass legislative muster, Virginia would gain the potential to add two additional operators to its already sportsbook-rich market.