Rejoice, District residents: you’re no longer stuck with Intralot‘s underwhelming DC sports betting platform and odds.
William Hill soft-launched its temporary retail sportsbook Friday in the box office of Capital One Arena, with a grand opening planned for Monday. The sportsbook represents the first retail iteration a William Hill partnership deal with owner Ted Leonsis for sports betting in Washington, D.C. signed last year.
The temporary facility will utilize the ticket windows at Capital One Arena to take wagers while no teams play at the facility. William Hill also will utilize sports betting kiosks to take wagers.
The ceremonial first bets placed Monday will come from inaugural season ticket holders from the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. The NHL‘s Capitals, the NBA‘s Wizards, and the WNBA‘s Mystics are playing in restart bubbles in the United States and Canada.
Another DC sports betting option
William Hill’s opening could bring relief to a DC sports betting market suffocated by the DC Lottery’s stumbling GambetDC platform.
The long-delayed online and mobile platforms feature uncompetitive odds and a challenging signup process, confirming the concerns of those who fought the seemingly greased process. The district’s council agreed to a no-bid monopoly for lottery provider Intralot in February 2019.
The platform did not take its first wager for more than 15 months after that approval, as multiple delays plagued launch plans. DC residents have little recourse for mobile enjoyment with no other apps allowed district-wide.
While traveling downtown to Capital One Arena might require extra effort, it could prove more popular with DC residents. William Hill’s odds skew far closer to competitive with the market than Intralot’s do.
William Hill, Monumental make the best of it
The event marking the opening of the temporary sportsbook will take place at 11 a.m. EDT Monday at Capital One Arena. Both William Hill and Leonsis’s Monumental Sports and Entertainment expected to launch with professional action at the building, but those plans changed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
With NBA and NHL restart bubbles launched by this weekend and MLB attempting a 60-game season, though, options for sports betting still exist. The book also launches in plenty of time for players to become comfortable prior to NFL betting season.
William Hill continues to pursue one of the more aggressive retail betting strategies among US operators.
The company soon will take over a handful of sportsbooks on the Las Vegas Strip after the completion of the Eldorado-Caesars merger this summer. Through an earlier deal with Eldorado, William Hill gained the option to rebrand the Caesars books and plans to do so.