William Hill Opens First Legal Sportsbook in Washington DC

William Hill US entered the history books more than once on Monday.

William Hill Sportsbook Logo

The London-based sportsbook became the first legal sportsbook to open in the nation’s capital. And by opening at the Capital One Arena, it also became the first sportsbook to be located inside of a sports stadium. The first one was monumental, but the latter is temporary.

Temporary Location

The gambling conglomerate’s permanent location inside the arena is the space that used to be occupied by The Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille. But with the recent lockdown restrictions, construction has been delayed and isn’t expected to be completed until fall.

With the recent return of most sports though, William Hill and Monumental Sports and Entertainment—who own the arena—decided that DC’s long-awaited sportsbook should be up and running. And since the Wizards and Capitals won’t be playing at their home arena anytime soon, they decided to convert the ticket box area into a temporary betting site.

Joe Asher, William Hill’s chief executive commented:

“It was really driven by the announcement of when sports would resume. Baseball just started up, and the NBA and NHL are starting again…and so with sports back, we wanted to try to get a temporary facility open as soon as we could.”

The temporary sportsbook has seven ticket windows and a total of 10 kiosks. It will be open seven days a week from 11 AM to 11 PM. The space opened last Friday afternoon, shortly after the sportsbook secured its license from the city and hours after the Wizards played their first game in the NBA’s bubble tournament in Orlando.

Ceremonial Bets

Last October, Monumental first announced the plan for William Hill to operate a Las Vegas-style sportsbook at the Capital One Arena through its US subsidiary American Wagering Inc. After nearly one year of waiting, legal sports betting has finally arrived at the nation’s capital.

Jim Van Stone, president of business operations for Monumental Sports had this to say:

“We think it’s certainly an exciting moment for us, and we think it’s a really great engagement opportunity for our fans.”

And so, on Monday, the first bets were placed. The ceremonial bets were made by inaugural season ticket holders of Washington’s sports teams. A Wizards fan who has been a season ticket holder since 1973, a Capitals supporter who’s held season tickets since 1973, and a Mystics follower who’s had a season package since 1998 were chosen as the three lucky fans to place the first-ever bets at the sportsbook. All three placed bets on their respective favorite teams.

More Betting Heading to DC

More betting is expected to come to Washington with the city approving two other provisional licenses. Sportradar Solutions and NYX Digital Gaming, a subsidiary of Scientific Games Corporation, have been given provisional supplier licenses which will expire on January 31st, 2021.

Handle19, which is planning to put up a sportsbook at Capitol Hill, submitted a Class B license application that covers venues which are located more than two blocks away from the city’s major arenas. It plans to open in the fall.

Last February, Washington’s MLS team DC United struck a promotional deal with Caesars Entertainment. Although there has been no announcement of any plans to open a sportsbook at Audi Field, William Hill’s opening at the Capital One Arena on Monday could be a sign of great things to come.

If you want to follow along DC’s journey or learn about how other cities are tackling the sports gambling landscape, feel free to bookmark our site for more news updates. Keep up with what’s going on in the US when it comes to all things gambling and sports betting.