Capital One Arena To Add Sportsbook In Landmark Deal
William Hill and Monumental Sports & Entertainment "plan to open a sports-betting venue" inside Capital One Arena in what would be the "first wagering establishment inside a major-league sports venue in the U.S.," according to Katherine Sayre of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The sportsbook is expected to open as soon as '20, "depending on regulatory approval." Plans for the sportsbook include a "two-floor bar and restaurant accessible from inside the arena during games and from the street" even when the Wizards and Capitals are not playing. DC law allows for sportsbooks to be licensed in four professional sports venues: Capital One Arena, St. Elizabeth's East Entertainment & Sports Arena, Nationals Park and Audi Field. MS&E Chair & CEO Ted Leonsis said that he is "committed to keeping team operations separate from gambling operations to ensure the integrity of games." William Hill, which yesterday became the NBA's newest authorized sports betting operator, "operates more than 140 retail sports-betting outlets in the U.S., along with online betting" (WALL STREET JOURNAL. 10/3).
YOUNG MAN'S GAME: In DC, Gregg & Nirappil note the venue will be in the location "formerly occupied by Green Turtle Bar and Grill." Leonsis called the gambling operation "part of a broader set of efforts to appeal to a younger tech-savvy fan base." Leonsis: "Think of it as less of a cocktail lounge and more of a modern sports bar and trading desk. We want it to feel like the best Apple store with the genius bar, because young people are accustomed to that." The partnership is "meant to wall off the betting operation from the interests of Leonsis' sports franchises." MS&E "will not share in the gambling revenue and will be paid rent under a standard leasing arrangement." William Hill will "separately rent advertising space around the stadium and pay the major sports leagues for access to real-time data feeds" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/3). Leonsis said he was “very excited about using interactive data and the sportsbook to make a more exciting experience for our fans, give fans a rooting interest in the teams." William Hill CEO Joe Asher: “Clearly in the future, the bulk of the betting is going to be on mobile … but there’s still a big role to be played for retail sportsbook in that retail environment where people can congregate, get together with friends, have a few for drinks” ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 10/3).