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DC Sports Betting Won’t Be Ready for Start of NFL Season

There was hope that legalized sports betting would be available before the start of the NFL season at brick-and-mortar locations in the District of Columbia.

However, DC’s Office of Lottery and Gaming affirmed that the party will be on hold for a few weeks.

The office will begin accepting applications for sports gaming licenses in the month of September. Applications for provisional licenses will have the opportunity to be approved within 30-45 days, and the process of approving standard licenses could take anywhere from three to six months.

“I don’t know how long that will throw off the launch,” said Beth Bresnahan, executive director of DC Lottery. “But it’s important to know that we want to ensure we are responding to comments and concerns.”

Regulations To Be Determined

Many of these businesses and officials are working on regulations, which include advertising restrictions, licensing requirements and doing away completely with betting on local college sports — just as states like New Jersey and New York have done. The drafted version of the rules from DC Lottery, which will oversee sports betting, has amassed nearly 100 pages of comments from gaming and sports companies.

The DC Office of Lottery and Gaming is still awaiting finalization on the rules that will end up governing sports betting within the city limits. However, the office did say it is “committed to establishing a solid regulatory framework that fosters public confidence and trust in the integrity of sports wagering operations in the District of Columbia.”

Different Venues

Unlike the other states that have legalized sports betting, DC doesn’t have any casinos, horse tracks, or traditional brick-and-mortar gambling locations that have the ability to host America’s new favorite adventure. A new DC, though, does allow sports betting at arenas, bars/restaurants, and convenience store kiosks.

In addition, the city will control a digital app for mobile betting. Once sports betting is legalized, DC is projected to rake in over $17 million in tax dollars next year.

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration started accepting applications for places of business to update their liquor licenses to allow on-site sports wagering. The process is similar to how bars are granted permission to have outdoor patio seating.

Six DC bars/restaurants – Lou’s City Bar in Columbia Heights, Dirty Water and Duffy’s Irish Pub on H Street NE, Lyve and Wet Dog Tavern on the U Street corridor and The Brig in Navy Yard – have taken the first step in that process.

“In terms of capturing all of the illegal market, I don’t think that any jurisdiction can say that they can successfully do that 100 percent,” Bresnahan said. “But we are going to work to put forth an entertaining and competitive product that captures a large market share.”

Last month, the DC Council approved a no-bid contract with Intralot to develop the sports betting app. Many of the council members were concerned about suspending competitive bidding rules and some of the subcontractors’ relationships to local politicians. In the end, however, the majority of council members agreed that having this extra revenue was too much for the city to pass up.

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