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DC sports betting licensing process to begin “within weeks”


Washington DC’s sports betting licence application process is to begin within weeks after formal rules were approved by the District of Columbia regulator.

The Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) gave the green light to updated plans, which outline matters such as licence terms, and support implementation of the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act passed by the DC City Council in December 2018.

The document also includes responses to comments on initial regulations by stakeholders including DraftKings, William Hill and MGM Resorts, who are likely to apply for licences.

The OLG said in a statement that it will release additional information and guidance to potential applicants for sports wagering licenses as it prepares to formally launch the licensing process in the coming weeks.

Beth Bresnahan, executive director of the DC Lottery, which has granted a contract to run its sports betting operations to Intralot, said: “The 115-page document incorporates feedback from potential operators in the District’s emerging sports wagering industry submitted during the public comment period that closed on July 15.

“The changes incorporated by the office largely provide further clarification to the operating community and did not fundamentally change the rules as initially proposed earlier this summer.”

The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act permits retail and digital sports betting in the capital, which has a population of almost 700,000 and teams in each of the major sports leagues.

Under the terms of the Act sports betting operators will be able to trade in DC’s four major sports arenas and stadiums, as well as in other businesses, such as hotels, bars, and restaurants outside of a two-block radius from the sports complexes. No establishment within a two-block radius of a stadium will be eligible to apply for a licence.

The Class A licence fee for the four sports venues will be $500,000 for a five-year term. The Class B licence for other locations will cost $100,000.

The Washington DC Council earlier this year awarded Intralot a five-year contract to power the city lottery’s sports betting offering, despite concerns over the manner in which the contract was handed to the Greek lottery and gaming solutions provider.

The contract, for which Intralot could earn up to $215m over the five-year term, was backed by seven councilmembers, with five voting against. The Council used an emergency measure to bypass a public procurement process, to ensure it did not lose sports betting revenue to the neighbouring states of Maryland and Virginia.

Figures released late last year by the district’s chief financial officer, Jeffrey DeWitt, estimated that a multiple-operator approach would yield $34.3m for state coffers between 2019 and 2022, in comparison with $92.2m through the single-operator approach via DC Lottery and partner Intralot, which has a contract that runs until March 2020.