For the first time ever, American sports fans will be able to wager on games from directly within a professional franchise’s arena.Monumental Sports & Entertainment – owner of the Washington Wizards of the NBA, Washington Capitals of the NHL, and Washington Mystics of the WNBA – has named William Hill U.S. as its exclusive official sports betting partner.
And in an historic first, William Hill U.S. has been granted permission to build a full-fledged sportsbook inside Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.
In a joint press release issued earlier this month, Monumental Sports & Entertainment confirmed that William Hill U.S. – the American arm of U.K. bookmaking titan William Hill – will open an in-arena bet shop as early as 2020.
The arrangement awaits pending regulatory approval, but given billionaire team owner Ted Leonsis’ influence in the nation’s capital, that process is expected to be a mere formality.
Washington DC Legalized Sports Betting
The Council of the District of Columbia voted to authorize legal sports betting last December, and Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the bill into law one month later. D.C’s sports betting law allows for online / mobile wagering via sole operator Intralot throughout the city, while permitting brick and mortar bet shops to open in four sports complexes – Capital One Arena, Nationals Park, Audi Field, and the Elizabeth’s East Entertainment and Sports Arena.
Additionally, bettors will be able to access non-Intralot online / mobile apps such as William Hill’s digital platform when physically located within one of those four venues.
D.C. Mogul Breaks New Ground by Building Sportsbook in Arena
In the press release, billionaire Ted Leonsis – who serves as chairman, founder, principal partner, and chief executive officer of Monumental Sports & Entertainment – celebrated Capital One Arena’s status as the first North American pro sports venue to offer an onsite sportsbook:
“Monumental is dedicated to bringing the latest technology and innovation into our arena and delivering extraordinary experiences to our fans.
We are excited to partner with William Hill, the industry leader in sports betting, to become the first professional sports arena in the U.S. to feature a sportsbook. Through this partnership, we are thrilled to enhance the fan experience with innovative gaming opportunities and transformational dining and culinary options not just on event days, but year-round.
Our partnership with William Hill compliments our vision of making our arena the premier sports and entertainment destination in Washington, D.C.”
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Leonsis attributed his inspiration for inviting William Hill U.S. inside Capital One Arena to his experiences in England, where the venerable bookmaker has operated brick and mortar bet shops streetside since 1934:
Leonsis: “(They’re) like Starbucks, or Dunkin’ Donuts, they were on every corner.
You would see people at lunchtime and all times of the day going in, feeling quite comfortable with the process of placing a sports bet, and there was nothing unsavory about it.”
According to the press release, Capital One Arena’s new sportsbook will span multiple floors, while providing year-round access to both ticketed guests attending games, and non-ticketed bettors via an F Street-facing betting window. The sportsbook will also operate on non-game days and during the offseason.
William Hill Set to Conquer Washington Sports Betting Market
In a statement, chief executive officer Joe Asher of William Hill U.S. – which runs over 140 retail bet shops nationwide and ranks as the leading sportsbook operator in Las Vegas – promised D.C.-based bettors a world-class venue:
“This sports book will be a flagship venue for the industry and will serve the sports fans of the Washington D.C. area unlike any other.
Partnering with Ted Leonsis and the entire Monumental team was ideal. They share our vision and principles for bringing innovative sports betting opportunities to fans in a responsible way.
This deal sets a new benchmark for how the industry will serve fans and how fans engage in sports.”
William Hill U.S. has capitalized on American sports betting regulation by inking official partnerships with the NBA and NHL in recent months. The bookmaker also serves as the official sports betting partner for the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights.