In late 2018, D.C. became the first to approve sports betting in the DMV. This came about after a vote by the District of Columbia Council resulted in a 9-2 decision in favor of approving sports betting, with Mayor Bowser eventually approving the bill. Although officials had hoped to offer sports betting in time for the start of the baseball season, pending regulations and contracts mean it may only be available at the start of the NFL season. The landmark decision is expected to garner more tax revenue for the district, allowing the city to gain a leg up on neighboring Virginia and Maryland, who also now allow sports betting.
Although stipulations in the bill state that the D.C. lottery provider Intralot will run all sports betting in the district, exceptions will be made for certain stadiums/venues, and numerous business professionals have taken note. For example, Ted Leonsis has just recently announced his intentions to open up the Capital One Arena as a sports betting venue. Potentially, the former Greene Turtle restaurant at the arena could be converted into a sportsbook, where patrons use the facility to settle bets in real-time even without holding a ticket for the event they’re betting on. Other places that have been blocked out as exclusive zones for retail sportsbooks are the Audi Field, Nationals Park, and the St. Elizabeth’s East Entertainment and Sports Arena
As for mobile betting options, NBC reveals that the earliest smartphone betting in D.C. will be allowed is January 2020. This is mainly due to the city still finalizing a deal with a vendor to design the corresponding app. After that, the resulting contract will need to go through several approval processes, and only then can the estimated 6-month development and implementation of the app begin.
Despite the time and work, it takes to release a mobile betting option, some casinos have already shown their willingness to invest in it. In fact, Sandlot Games explains that SugarHouse casino has already launched mobile betting options in the state of Pennsylvania, with their betting app already available for Android phones. For now, though, brick and mortar venues will be the only options around in the D.C. area as they look to catch up with some of the other states across the U.S.
Revenue for DC
Aside from the additional tax revenue that the city stands to gain, WTOP details that the legalization of sports betting also means other things like job creation and advertising/marketing dollars being spent in the city. Even companies entering into the D.C. market stand to benefit not just monetarily, but also from getting additional user data that can help identify red flags in betting patterns. Finally, having a legalized and regulated market for sports betting will help to cut down on illegal operations. Indeed, with the numerous benefits that sports betting could potentially bring, it’s just one more reason to look forward to the upcoming NFL season.