D.C. residents are welcoming a brand new venture as the region’s first official sportsbook has set up at the Capital One Arena. The William Hill sportsbook is the first one located in a professional level stadium or sports arena, making it an even bigger draw.
With so many professional sports being back to live action, William Hill wanted to make the most of the excitement by opening up for wagers as the NBA, MLB, and NHL have all restarted their seasons.
In order to make sure that they were able to open in time for all of the live sporting action, William Hill setup a temporary location inside the ticket office of the Capital One Arena.
There are self-serve kiosks that people can use or walk-up windows that are staffed for those that would rather place a bet with a live person or don’t feel comfortable with the kiosk.
In total, there are 10 electronic kiosks and four walk-up windows giving people plenty of options so that it shouldn’t become too crowded. Additionally, there are updated digital boards with odds that sit above the box office windows, providing people with vital information for placing sports wagers.
Keep in mind, for those looking to go in and place a bet, in order to adhere to current health and safety protocols, social distancing and masks are required as D.C. is currently in Phase 2 regulations.
This is the first retail location to come out of the partnership between Ted Leonsis and William Hill. The deal was signed last year and is finally now coming to fruition.
Initially, DC Lottery’s GambetDC was the only way that residents could place wagers in the region prior to William Hill opening up their sportsbook. However, the GambetDC app has been nothing short of a disaster.
There were issues with the signup process, odds that seemed far off from most other sportsbooks, and the no-bid monopoly for Intralot that all acted as hurdles in the process.
While launch plans certainly were discussed before this point, it was a rather drawn out 15 months before the first bet could be placed.
Although there is still the hurdle of having to get people to travel downtown and visit the Capital One Arena in order to place their bet, hopes remain high that the excitement of this venue will draw people in and that the frustrated users of the GambetDC app will scrap using the app for now.
As mentioned, this is just a temporary location for the sportsbook so it could get up and running ASAP. A permanent location has been announced and will open up sometime later this year. It will be located in the former Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille space.
For now, the soft launch is acting as an introduction not just for bettors but also for staff who will need to get used to taking live bets in person. David Grolman, president of operations for William Hill, commented on this temporary sportsbook:
“It’s like what you would do at a restaurant when you only invite friends and family for a soft opening. You can train all day but until you have people standing in front of you asking for a ‘team round-robin’, you can’t really know what to expect.”
Grolman remains optimistic that the soft launch will not only act as a training exercise, but will truly be temporary and that the permanent location will be up and operating by November. Of course, that will remain to be seen as lots of cards still need to fall into place before that happens.
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