With only a few obscure sports left to bet on, many wondered if Washington, D.C., would continue to push forward on America’s newest favorite activity. After all, the nation’s capital has been immersed in this awkward legal tug of war going on for a little over a year now.
To waste all of those efforts would be a slap in the face of all the people that worked hard to make this happen.
Sure, the coronavirus outbreak has put a screeching halt to the sports world. However, the show must go on, and newer markets need to be tapped into.
According to the D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming, Washington, D.C. will be ready to go for legalized sports betting at the end of March.
“I told a couple of our IT guys to put on fencing suits, and we could stream it,” said Joe Asher, one of the chief executives over at William Hill. “Obviously, I’m kidding, but this is all we’re doing: trying to find content for people to bet on.”
William Hill, who is one of the top sportsbooks in the country, only did about 20 percent of its usual business of March 14 – the first Saturday after most of the professional leagues suspended play indefinitely.
Intralot, who has been at the forefront of D.C.’s delay to give the green light for sports betting could cause another set of problems. A couple of weeks ago, Montana finally went live with their sports betting plan, and the reviews were not great.
Many sports bettors were upset to learn that the moneyline odds offered by Intralot were quite inflated, and not in favor of the ones placing the wagers.
Because sports betting is considered a lottery game, Intralot was the only company possible supplier. On the contrary, Washington, D.C. had a few other options. However, they did end up going with Intralot because a council member had ties to a consulting firm that accepted money from the company to make the deal happen.
After the fiasco in pricing from Montana, bettors should certainly be worried about those moneyline prices coming to their area. Not to mention, with most of the popular sports on hiatus, some of these bettors can get taken for a ride with no knowledge of sports like cricket and Mexican soccer left on the menu.
“We are revising our launch strategy now based on the current state of world events/no games happening, but we will be ready to fully debut our sportsbook when it is safe for the sports world to return to the court, field, etc.,” said Nicole Jordan, the director of marketing and communications for the D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming.
Luckily, Intralot probably won’t be the only operator in D.C. when things finally get settled down. Bars, restaurants and sporting arenas/fields are allowed to apply for Class A and B licenses.
Unfortunately, those places won’t have the mobile sports betting options in D.C. like Intralot and will be geofenced to make sure it doesn’t happen.
William Hill will be partnering with Monumental Sports to create a sportsbook in Capital One Arena – home of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards.
While it is great that Washington, D.C. will finally have sports betting on the menu, the hungry people can’t even sit down at the restaurant to eat just yesterday. It’s likely going to be some time before D.C. residents get a fair shake at getting fair and reliable lines to bet on. Luckily, sports don’t look like they’ll be coming back anytime soon.
In the meantime, the nation’s capital can make things more fair for its residents.