A sportsbook will appear inside a professional sports venue for the first time in the United States, thanks to a new deal struck on Thursday.
Here comes a sportsbook where pro sports teams play
The company that owns Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., announced that it had partnered with William Hill to place a sportsbook inside the arena. The company, Monumental Sports, owns:
- The Washington Wizards (NBA)
- The Washington Capitals (NHL)
- The Washington Mystics (WNBA)
Monumental’s owner, Ted Leonsis, had confirmed earlier this year his intent to have a sportsbook on the premises.
“Monumental is dedicated to bringing the latest technology and innovation into our arena and delivering extraordinary experiences to our fans. We are excited to partner with William Hill, the industry leader in sports betting, to become the first professional sports arena in the US to feature a sportsbook,” said Leonsis in a press release.
“Through this partnership, we are thrilled to enhance the fan experience with innovative gaming opportunities and transformational dining and culinary options not just on event days, but year-round. Our partnership with William Hill compliments our vision of making our arena the premier sports and entertainment destination in Washington, D.C.”
More on the DC sportsbook
What do we know about the sportsbook?
- It still needs regulatory approval before construction commences. No timeline was given for its launch.
- The sportsbook will be open daily year-round, whether an event is going on or not.
- Bettors will be able to place bets on a mobile device via a William Hill app while in the arena or nearby.
- The sportsbook will have both food and alcohol and will span multiple floors of the arena.
“This sportsbook will be a flagship venue for the industry and will serve the sports fans of the Washington D.C. area unlike any other,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US.
“Partnering with Ted Leonsis and the entire Monumental team was ideal. They share our vision and principles for bringing innovative sports betting opportunities to fans in a responsible way. This deal sets a new benchmark for how the industry will serve fans and how fans engage in sports.”
Teams, leagues + sports betting
While there have been plenty of deals between leagues, teams, arenas and sportsbooks in the year since the federal sports betting ban fell, this is the first time a sportsbook — where you can place bets — will actually appear inside a venue.
Of course, with the advent of legal online wagering, bettors could already place bets anywhere in the states that have legalized it, including in arenas.
William Hill and the NBA just yesterday announced that the former is now a “Proud Partner and an Authorized Sports Betting Operator” of the NBA. That deal was apparently necessary for the sportsbook deal to go through. Will Hill was already a partner of the NHL.
Hypocrisy on the part of the leagues?
The hypocrisy in the deal on the side of the pro sports leagues is fairly evident.
The NBA and NHL were among the leagues that had attempted to stop legal sports betting from happening for decades, by supporting the federal ban outside of Nevada. They also fought to keep the ban in place via a court case against the state of New Jersey; NJ prevailed in the US Supreme Court last year.
The rationale had mostly to do with the harm that would come to professional sports by the expansion of US sports betting. Game integrity would be forever threatened, the leagues claimed.
Now a sportsbook is going in the same venue that pro sports teams play in. That’s quite the 180.
DC has legal sports betting on the way
Washington D.C.’s council legalized sports wagering, leading to an online app that would be available around the District. DC sportsbooks were also authorized at sporting venues as well as properly licensed bars.
The app from the DC Lottery has been mired in controversy even before the law was passed. And now a court case threatens to hold that effort up.
That does not appear to stop the efforts of other venues to move forward with sports betting, however.