Betting technology supplier Newgioco is to enter the Washington, D.C. sports betting market through a new partnership with Handle19, a sports bar chain planned by entrepreneur Shane August’s August Holding Corp.
Under the agreement, Newgioco will supply Handle19 with its ELYS platform to power online and land-based sports betting in D.C.
According to the Washington Business Journal, Handle19 will apply for a Class B license when the D.C. Lottery opens the licensing process.
“After an exhaustive competitive analysis of several betting platform providers, we are very pleased to have selected Newgioco to partner with for our planned sports betting operations,” August said.
“A key factor in our decision came down to the fact that the ELYS platform was developed in a fully regulated market and has both online and land-based functionality, giving us a comprehensive tool and the know-how of the Newgioco team to work closely with regulators to help shape the D.C. sports betting market for years to come.”
Newgioco’s chief executive Michele Ciavarella added: “We believe that our background and experience in the tightly regulated Italian market will be highly beneficial in pioneering the sports betting market in the District of Columbia.”
“We aspire to build our business in the US sports betting market by fostering strong, long-term partnerships with both tribal and non-tribal operators such as Handle 19 in real-money betting and loyalty based free-to-play programs for non-licensed establishments as the market continues to rapidly evolve across the nation.”
In January, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser approved the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act after the D.C. City Council voted through the legislation in December 2018.
However, the launch of a regulated market was last month delayed when a court ruled to temporarily suspend Intralot’s contract to operate lottery services and sports betting – which was awarded without a tender process – in the district. The D.C. court ruling indicated that there is a “substantial likelihood” that a lawsuit alleging the deal violates federal law would succeed.
Mobile app developer Dylan Carragher filed the lawsuit against the District, arguing the deal violates the Home Rule Act that established the powers of Washington D.C.
Carragher — who has created a sports betting app of his own — said the no-bid nature of the Intralot deal “ultimately violates DC citizens’ rights to receive fair and competitive prices for the contractual services provided to the government.”
The agreement between Intralot and the D.C. Lottery would have seen the supplier power a citywide mobile offering as well as offer betting via lottery retailers. However, the contract allows for businesses such as bars and stadia to apply for wagering licences.
This means bars would be able to offer betting, and the city’s stadiums would be able to roll out mobile betting, within an exclusivity zone around the venue. Monumental Sports and Entertainment, owner of the Capital One Arena which houses a number of sports teams, has already struck an agreement for in-venue and mobile wagering with William Hill.
Once the regulated market launches, the D.C. Lottery plans to begin a licensing process to open up opportunities for more operators in the district.
However, D.C. sports wagering law states that licensees cannot run a sportsbook without also providing food and beverage and other offerings. August is reportedly in the process of securing land-based licenses for Handle 19, including sites in Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle.