Washington DC is ready to start its sports betting licensing process soon after Thanksgiving vacations end. According to the Office of Lottery and Gaming on Wednesday, the licensing process will start on Tuesday, December 3.
When to expect gambling regulation?
According to the Lottery, it would take anywhere between 30 and 45 days to review the first batch of applications. It would start approving licenses to suppliers, management service providers, and operators soon after. The authorities have already decided to let Intralot, its Greek lottery operators, occupy a monopoly on citywide mobile sports betting.
Another set of licenses is available for land-based and mobile gaming in four sporting arenas. Other businesses that want to offer retail betting opportunities but not as their main business can also apply for licenses. The authorities will also allow bars and restaurants to offer mobile sports betting within their premises.
Who could get the first licenses?
The strongest contender in the race is the Capital Once Arena owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The group also owns NHL Washington Capitals and NBA Washington Wizards. Last month, it signed a partnership deal with William Hill to offer sports betting facility on its premises. It is likely that this venue will start operating sooner than others. Laws allow venues that partner with licensed operators based in other US states to start early using a provisional license.
Meanwhile, the Intralot mobile sports betting app is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2020. The development of the app was suspended temporarily because of a lawsuit. The plaintiff, Dylan Carragher, alleged that the contract was awarded to the company without following a customary procurement procedure. He runs eSportsbets.gg and said that the decision stopped him and other similar providers to offer sports betting on their own. The case is still pending in court.
The biggest problem for DC would be geolocation. The state can allow betting in any place in the state except those owned by the federal government. Since there is no federal regulation for gambling, there will be no jurisdiction of gambling on federal land. The government-owned at least 18 square miles, which makes it hard for Intralot to operate smoothly.
Another big issue is that mobile sports betting is blocked within two blocks of a sporting arena. For Inralot, providing sports betting in the state would be nothing short of walking on eggshells.