Washington DC’s Capital One Arena, home of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards, is likely to become the first sports arena in the country to have a sportsbook operating within its walls.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the ownership group of both teams, announced a partnership with William Hill Sportsbook along with plans to open a fully operational sportsbook in the arena. The book will be open while games are taking place.
Despite the NHL and NBA being two of the leagues that have been staunchly anti-gambling for some time, Ted Leonsis, Chairman and CEO of MSE, has been a longtime advocate for expanded gambling in the U.S.
“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 US to feature a sportsbook,” said Leonsis in a press release.
William Hill already has a sportsbook lounge at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, home of the New Jersey Devils. That lounge, however, is exactly that. Just a lounge. There is nowhere in the lounge to place bets and fans are allowed to wager through William Hill’s mobile app.
Capital One Arena will have a fully operational sportsbook that will be open even when there isn’t a game in progress. It will span multiple levels of the arena.
The project is still awaiting regulatory approval and there is no timeline for launch. The nation’s capital legalized sports betting in 2018 but is still nowhere near implementing a functional sports betting operation.