By Lewis Gould
There’s obviously no way that sports betting will come to fruition in the District in time for the Super Bowl next Sunday.
And now we have to wonder if it will even be available for March Madness, just two months away.
The first operator that will likely be live should be Intralot through the DC Lottery. That’s the Greek lottery company selected for an exclusive contract by the DC Council in a maligned deal.
Those vying for smaller Class A or Class B licenses will take longer, especially considering how much longer the licensing process could take.
Right now, there’s only one operator that could hypothetically beat Intralot’s timeline: William Hill.
William Hill’s American Wagering Inc. is the only operator that applied, so far, despite the process opening early last month. William Hill signed an agreement to operate a sportsbook inside Capital One Arena in October.
There’s no current timeline to launch DC sports betting as the application process continues, according to a company spokesperson.
The lottery hopes to get Intralot’s DC sports betting up and running by March, according to an Office of Lottery and Gaming spokesperson.
March Madness officially kicks off March 17.
Intralot’s road to operating DC sports betting was controversial.
Former Councilman Jack Evans, who pushed Intralot for the deal, was ousted from the DC Council for alleged ethics violations. Evans has deep ties to a consulting firm that advocated on behalf of Intralot.
Intralot will be the only mobile sportsbook available in most of Washington, DC. The capital presents a particularly tricky geofencing challenge, as no mobile sports betting can be accessed from federally owned land.
It also won’t be available within two blocks of the Class A operators or operators at a sports arena.
There’s a practical reason why William Hill’s license is in first and other operators are behind: the amount of work for the license.
William Hill is licensed in some of the 10 jurisdictions approved by DC. That means all William Hill needs is a provisional license, which takes less work. Those licenses should be approved within 45 days.
Given William Hill submitted its license Dec. 23, the company should be licensed sometime by mid-February.