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Washington DC Delays Sports Betting Launch Until Sporting Calendar is Resumed

Regulated Washington DC sports betting will have to wait a little longer to launch after the state chose to delay this until US sports have resumed.

Sporting events in the country are postponed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

According to the Washington City Paper, the delay to launch this vertical will be ‘indefinite’. 

Still no live regulated sports betting for DC 

Sports betting in the capital was supposed to go live in Q1 2020, having been planned before that for January. DC originally passed legislation to legalize this vertical in March 2019.

A DC Lottery spokesperson has said that its “sports wagering and mobile platforms are ready to go live”.

Had the app and website gone live in the first quarter of this year, it would have coincided with a busy period for American sports (in a non-COVID-19 world). Following on from the NCAA’s March Madness, the MLB season would have been getting started around now. The NHL and NBA playoffs would also have been of interest to players.

DC Lottery Director of Marketing & Communications Nicole Jordan has said that while the app and website’s respective launches have been delayed, more information will be shared about their features in due course. 

Her words were as follows. 

“We are revising our sports wagering launch strategy based on the current state of world events, but will be posting information about the platform in the coming days, including introducing the brand and its functionalities. 

“The Lottery and Intralot are prepared to launch the platform when it is safe for the sports world to return.”

What do Washington DC’s sports betting regulations entail? 

Online, mobile and land-based sports betting will be allowed. Operators will pay an annual tax equivalent to 10% of their gross gaming revenue (GGR). 

Aside from the mobile app, Class A licenses will be available for four sporting arenas in the district at a cost of $250,000. These are the Capital One Arena, Audi Field, Nationals Park and St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena. Permits will be available for five years. 

All of the above will have a two-block buffer zone as part of their permits. 

Class B licenses will also be awarded to bars, restaurants, hotels, and hotels. But unlike Class A venues, these will not have a two-block buffer zone. 

Those eligible for Class B licenses can begin sending their applications now. However, the state lottery hasn’t commented on how many will be accepted. 

Mobile sports betting will be powered by Intralot, a lottery supplier headquartered in Greece.

Although sports betting is going to be permitted in DC, casino games will not. 

Who is going to be present in the capital’s regulated market?

The US-facing division of William Hill has agreed a deal with the Capital One Arena, while also submitting its license application on December 23rd last year. However, it only gave regulators the required information last week. It’s expected that William Hill will either be granted a permit at the end of this month or beginning of next. 

Elsewhere, sports data supplier Sportradar and Scientific Games – a sports betting technology provider – have also applied to join the party. 

When it comes to Class B licenses, three bars have so far moved towards allowing this vertical once all goes ahead. These are Duffy’s Irish Pub, The Brig and Wet Dog Tavern. 

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