Capital One Arena to Open America’s First In-Arena Sportsbook
Monumental Sports and Entertainment announced Thursday that the company has partnered with renowned betting company William Hill U.S. to open a sportsbook inside Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. It will become the first sportsbook to open inside a professional sports venue in the United States.
Ted Leonsis, the CEO of Monumental, is set to make the official announcement during a press conference at the arena on Thursday. Leonsis also owns the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals, who both play their home games at Capital One Arena. The WNBA’s Washington Mystics also call the venue home.
Construction on the sportsbook is set to begin once several legal hurdles are cleared. There is no timetable for when the new addition will open.
William Hill’s Involvement
William Hill will operate the facility, which will span several different floors. The sportsbook will be open seven days a week, even on days on which there are no events scheduled for the arena. The sportsbook will have full-service food and drink offerings that will be “complemented by all premium sports betting facilities that are synonymous with the brand.”
Fans that are at least 18 years of age will also be able to place bets from within the arena using the William Hill mobile app. On days on which there are no games or concerts scheduled, the venue may turn into what amounts to a 20,000-seat TV viewing area. It can be utilized for major events such as the Super Bowl or World Cup
In an interview with WTOP, Leonsis said,
“William Hill will manage and be solely responsible for the business of the sportsbook and ensure that we as the team franchises never touch the money. We are always pushing the limits on what’s possible in sports. Monumental has led the way on sports gaming and is among the first in sports to integrate real-time data into the live game experience.”
The sportsbook will occupy the space formerly taken by the Greene Turtle Bar and Grill inside the arena. Leonsis initially revealed his desire to open a sportsbook within the arena last March. The billionaire has been a longtime proponent of legalized sports betting, as well.
Washington D.C. voted to legalize sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court made it legal for individual states to decide whether to do so in May of 2018. The D.C. Council voted in favor of legalizing sports betting in December of last year, but there is currently an injunction in place preventing the government from moving forward with plans. That injunction is expected to resolve quickly.
D.C.’s Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt said businesses would likely offer legal sports betting by the end of 2019. Mobile betting may come sometime early next year.
Nationals Park, which is home to Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals, is expected to open a sportsbook of its own, as well.
Leonsis added, “Think of it less as a cocktail lounge and more of a modern sports bar and trading desk. We want it to feel like the best Apple store with the genius bar, because young people are accustomed to that.”
Leonsis said that he first became aware of William Hill during a family trip to Scotland several years ago.
He said,“I joked it’s kind of luck Starbucks there…it’s everywhere. I would walk in and see young people, business people, mothers, sports fanatics and soccer fanatics.”
Growth of Sports Betting in the U.S.
William Hill will pay rent for the sportsbook’s space inside Capital One Arena, but Leonsis’ sports franchises will not get a piece of the gambling revenue. William Hill will be able to rent separate advertising space around the venue. It will be responsible for paying the major sports leagues for real-time data feeds. Leonsis added, “We don’t touch the money and we don’t set the odds. A fan needs to know and trust that we do what is in the best interest of the team.”
William Hill has seen rapid growth in the United States since the landmark Supreme Court decision. The company has since opened venues in 10 different states. Things aren’t going so smoothly for William Hill back in the United Kingdom, where a regulatory crackdown is forcing the company to close hundreds of its locations. William Hill currently operates 143 locations in the U.S.
Joe Asher, the chief executive of William Hill’s U.S. division, told the Washington Post,
“You’ve taken this business that has existed but was largely a black market business outside Nevada, and you’ve made it a legal regulated industry. There’s a huge legal industry that is in the process of being created and ramping up.”
Thirteen bars and restaurants in Washington D.C. have applied to alter their liquor licenses to allow for sports betting on their premises.
Despite the EU's best efforts, Finland still only allows one company to con...
Monumental Sports and Entertainment announced Thursday that the company has...
For almost all of 2019, UK lawmakers have worked on ways to cut down rates ...
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, a furniture salesman in Houston, is plac...