United States

Sportsbook in Capital One Arena to Be First of Its Kind in US

Signs posted in Capital One Arena on Thursday said the sportsbook would open in 2020

The company that owns the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards says it's opening a sportsbook inside Capital One Arena.

The sportsbook will mark "a new era of sports betting" in the District, Monumental Sports & Entertainment said in an announcement Thursday morning. The venue operated by William Hill will be the first of its kind in a professional sports venue in the United States, the company said.

The gambling venue in the former home of The Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grill will create jobs, generate taxes and drive interest in D.C. sports, Monumental Sports CEO Ted Leonsis and William Hill CEO Joe Asher said at a news conference. They said it will be fun too. 

"It's a place where you can stay and watch the game with your buddies, have a few drinks," Asher said. 

Washington Wizards Play-by-Play Announcer Dave Johnson moderated the news conference Thursday. He also is a WRC-TV contributor. 

Sports betting is booming, Leonsis said on CNBC.

"Right now, the sports gaming industry on a global basis is growing and very healthy," he said.

Construction of the "premium," multi-floor facility will start pending regulatory approvals, Monumental Sports said. The sportsbook will have full food and beverage service and be open every day, year-round, with an entrance on F Street NW. It will be open to fans with or without tickets to games at the arena. 

Signs posted in Capital One Arena on Thursday said the sportsbook would open in 2020 and be open to people age 21 and older. D.C. law allows anyone 18 or older to play the lottery or bet on sports.


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"We want to err on the side of being conservative," Leonsis said. "We have a lot to learn and we can't make a bad first impression."

Leonsis headed off concerns about a conflict of interest between his roles as a team owner and with the sportsbook. The operation will be "transparent and very highly regulated," he said.

William Hill US is based in London and has operated in Las Vegas since 2012.

As the DC Lottery prepares to launch sports betting throughout the District, work is underway to create an app allowing you to bet while on the go, but the News4 I-Team found there are many places where that app won't work. Investigative Reporter Jodie Fleischer shows the restrictions and the high-tech way they'll be enforced.

A line of explanation for the non-sports fans among us: A sportsbook is a place where sports bets are accepted in person or online.

The announcement comes days after a D.C. judge blocked the $215 million no-bid contract that D.C. awarded to Intralot, which is developing a mobile sports betting app for the city. That case is not expected to affect sports betting at privately owned venues. 

D.C. has already created zones where that app will not work. A small business owner in Southeast D.C. is considering filing a lawsuit because he says officials are unfairly shutting his restaurant out because of its proximity to Nationals Park.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story. 

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