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Sports Betting Applications Coming Forward in Washington DC

January 28, 2020

In late 2018, legislators in Washington D.C. voted to legalize sports betting activities for the city's residents. It took the better part of a year to get all the details worked out related to putting forth regulations and licencing criteria, but in December 2019, the doors were opened to allow prospective sports betting operators to submit the required applications and pay the appropriate application fees.

With the licencing process still underway, it appears as though two different prospective bookmakers have moved to the head of the class. Leading the way is William Hill’s American Wagering Inc., which is the only operator that applied for licensing to date. This should come as no surprise given the fact the William Hill organization has already been through the licensing process in America more than a dozen times to date with sports books in operation in 10 different states.

It also looks like Handle19 is moving forward with its application as stated by Ian Thomas, an attorney at Offit Kurman, a company that currently represents Handle19 during the DC licensing process. Currently, both William Hill and Handle19 are looking to partner with Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to open a sports book inside the Capital One Arena where the Redskins play the team's home games.

When asked about his concerns over possible sports betting competition in the region, Thomas told the press, “There are high barriers of entry to get into the marketplace. I think those high barriers will deter a fair amount of people who have thought about it in terms of this could be a few thousand dollars of extra revenue a month. It’s a lot of effort to get there.”

Details About the Licensing Process

Based on its approved legislation, DC sports books will be required to partner with a prescribed number of local business organizations to help benefit the surrounding community. When submitting an application, applicants are required to enclose a detailed business plan that lays out plans for specific community partnerships and details about what role these organizations will play in the operation of the associated sports book.

DC regulators are expected to keep accepting license applications over the next couple of months. After estimating the approval process should take about 45 days, William Hill could have the city's first sports book in operation in time for March Madness (NCAA Men's Basketball tournament). The company formally presented its application just before Christmas.

It worth noting that DC's approved sports betting legislation also included language that authorized mobile sports betting. However, Intralot will initially be the only authorized mobile sports book available throughout most of the Washington, DC.

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