DC Lottery Sports Betting Regulations Propose Provisional Licenses for Experienced Operators

Posted on: July 25, 2019, 12:43h. 

Last updated on: July 25, 2019, 12:43h.

Officials with the District of Columbia Lottery have begun the process of reviewing feedback to the proposed regulations it published last month, and a lottery spokeswoman told Casino.org that the final rules should be published within a matter of weeks.

Both Audi Field (center) and Nationals Park, located just north of the soccer stadium, will be able to host a sportsbook at their facilities thanks to the sports betting guidelines being established in Washington, D.C. (Image: Populous)

One thing the draft regulations show is that companies that have already established sportsbooks elsewhere in the country will be able to get a provisional license and start taking bets sooner than a new venture.

The provisional license regulation, if passed in its current form, allows sports betting operators, management service providers, and suppliers to provide proof of a current license in another approved jurisdiction. The applicant would need to provide a copy of that application with any amendments and updates, as well as completing all forms required by the District of Columbia.

Nicole Jordan, the lottery’s director of marketing and communications, said an experienced sportsbook would have an advantage because they can provide information officials need to begin a review.

“If someone is coming and have never opened a sportsbook, of course, we have to start from scratch in doing that due diligence,” she said.

While it may seem like a no-brainer to go with an experienced sportsbook, there are still companies looking for an entry into the growing US market. British-based Betfred earlier this month announced earlier this month it had secured a deal to operate a sportsbook with an Iowa casino. In addition, sports media website The Score has announced plans to enter the industry and launch a mobile betting site in New Jersey later this year.

No ‘Compromise’

Once the regulations have been approved and posted by the D.C. Register, the Lottery will begin to take license applications.

Jordan said the goal is to have sportsbook start accepting bets during the upcoming football season, but that’s not a timeframe that’s set in stone.

We want to make sure that we have reputable sportsbooks as we enter into this,” Jordan told Casino.org. “We will do what is necessary to do the suitability and the background due diligence to make sure that whoever is operating within the District of Columbia is doing so within our regulations and within the industry regulations.

“We are moving quickly to get this in the football season… but we will not compromise the diligence part to expedite things.”

If approved for a provisional license, the applicant would be able to start taking bets for up to six months while the D.C. Lottery continues reviewing the formal application. The provisional license could be extended for good cause by the executive director.

The provisional license doesn’t guarantee a standard license and the applicant would still need to meet all requirements for the license, and if the lottery denies the applicant, then the provisional license is revoked immediately.

Where to Bet

Sports betting in D.C. will work a little differently than in most states, who have established casinos or other gaming venues to serve as hosts.

Four licenses have been created to allow the District’s major arenas and stadiums to open sportsbooks. Those include Capital One Arena, home to the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards; Audi Field, home to D.C. United of Major League Soccer; Nationals Park, which hosts MLB’s Washington Nationals; and St. Elizabeth’s East Entertainment and Sports Arena, which hosts the Washington Mystics of the WNBA and the NBA G League’s Capital City Go-Go.

Those facilities will be able to host a licensed sports betting operator in their facility. The operator could also offer an online application that would only be available for use within the arena or stadium grounds.

Other D.C. businesses, such as a hotel, bar, or restaurant, could apply for a license. However, no business within a two-block radius of one of the stadiums will be eligible for a license.

In addition, the Intralot, through its contract with the D.C. Lottery, will operate a mobile application for the lottery. Lottery retailers will also accept sports bets.

The license for an arena sports betting license will be $250,000, while one for other D.C. businesses will cost $100,000. D.C. will also tax each sportsbook’s gross revenues at a rate of 10 percent.