The District of Columbia’s mobile sports betting monopoly won’t launch in time for the upcoming Super Bowl, while land-based wagering at bars and restaurants looks like a slightly better bet.
On Wednesday, NBC’s Washington affiliate quoted a DC Lottery spokesperson saying the Lottery’s citywide mobile betting app that was supposed to launch in January has now been pushed back until sometime in the first three months of 2020.
The spokesperson blamed the late arrival of the app, which was originally supposed to launch in September, on the legal challenge of the extremely sketchy five-year, $215m, no-bid contract the Lottery awarded to its current tech provider Intralot. That challenge was repulsed in October, after which Intralot apparently decided it was worth their time to continue developing their betting app.
Meanwhile, owners of DC nightspots will be able to apply for land-based and on-premise mobile betting licenses starting December 3. The Lottery said the process of vetting applicants and approving licenses could be done within 30-45 days, leaving open the (admittedly faint) possibility of these venues being able to offer Super Bowl fans the option to bet while they quaff pints and gobble chicken wings.
The District’s four pro sports venues will also be able to apply for their in-stadia and limited mobile (within two blocks of the venue) betting permits. Bookmaker William Hill has already reached a deal to open a sportsbook at Capital One Arena, home of the Wizards (NBA), Capitals (NHL) and Mystics (Women’s NBA).
This week, the Washington Post reported that casino operator Caesars Entertainment was holding talks with the District’s Major League Soccer franchise D.C. United about installing a sportsbook at the team’s Audi Field that could be taking wagers by next spring.
While talks are reportedly still at the early stages, the parties are said to be discussing a wide-ranging deal that will include not only a sportsbook but also a sponsorship that will feature Caesars logo on the team’s jersey sleeves.