Leading bookmaker William Hill US and U.S. sports and entertainment giant Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE), owner of the Washington Wizards of the NBA, Washington Capitals of the NHL and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, announced a first-of-its-kind legal sports betting partnership in early October that sets a precedent for encouraging fan engagement.
Subject to regulatory approval, the partnership includes the development of a William Hill sportsbook at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C., the first-ever sportsbook inside a U.S. professional sports venue. William Hill also will become the exclusive sports betting partner of the Wizards, Capitals and Mystics, as well as Monumental Sports and Entertainment.
Ted Leonsis, chairman, founder, principal partner and CEO, MSE said: “Monumental is excited to partner with William Hill, the industry leader in sports betting, to become the first professional sports arena in the U.S. to feature a sportsbook. Through this partnership, we are thrilled to enhance the fan experience with innovative gaming opportunities. Our partnership with William Hill compliments our vision of making our arena the premier sports and entertainment destination in Washington, D.C.”
Pending regulatory approval, construction will begin to transform Capital One Arena. William Hill Sportsbook will span three floors, and include a full-service restaurant and bar, and plenty of big-screen televisions. Fans will be able to access the sportsbook from the arena’s F Street entrance on a daily, year-round basis. During events, ticket holders can also enter the sportsbook from inside the arena.
The 20,000-seat arena can be used to televise live, major events from across the country to give fans a central location to watch the games. Bettors will be able to use a William Hill mobile app inside the arena, as per District regulations, which will appeal to younger, tech-savvy bettors who prefer to remain in their seats while placing wagers.
Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US said: “This sportsbook will be a flagship venue for the industry and will serve the sports fans of the Washington D.C. area unlike any other. Partnering with Ted Leonsis and the entire Monumental team was ideal. They share our vision and principles for bringing innovative sports betting opportunities to fans in a responsible way. This deal sets a new benchmark for how the industry will serve fans and how fans engage in sports.”
D.C. Legal Sports Betting Still Facing Delay
The District legalized sports wagering in late 2018, not long after the repeal of PASPA, but a number of legal hurdles, including a pending lawsuit over the award of a gaming contract, along with multiple regulatory issues, will have to be settled before legal sports wagering can proceed.
Washington, D.C. bettors hoped to be allowed to place wagers on the Redskins during the 2019 NFL season, but it’s beginning to look as though fans may have to wait until next year. The pending lawsuit has the potential to negate current progress and may force the District to re-examine its bidding process and licensing regulations.
In the meantime, D.C. operators and partners continue moving forward, anticipating that the District’s legal issues will eventually be settled.
More on William Hill and Monumental Sports and Entertainment
Dating back to 1934, the British-born William Hill moved to the U.S. and established itself in Nevada in 2012. Since then, the operator has become one the top sportsbooks in the country, operating in 10 states. Statistically, William Hill sportsbooks accept one out of every four wagers placed in the U.S. today.
Monumental Sports and Entertainment owns and operates Capital One Arena, and co-owns and operates Monumental Sports Network (MSN) with the NBC Sports Group.
Along with the Washington Wizards, the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals, and the Washington Mystics, currently playing in the WNBA championship finals, MSE owns and operates seven professional sports teams, including the 2018 Arena Football League champion Washington Valor, AFL’s Baltimore Brigade, NBA G League’s Capital City Go-Go and NBA 2K League’s Wizards District Gaming.
In addition, MSN is co-owner of aXiomatic, which has controlling interest in global eSports franchise Team Liquid, and manages MedStar Capitals Iceplex, a state-of-the-art training facility for the Capitals, and EagleBank Arena on George Mason University’s campus.
In conjunction with the District of Columbia and Events DC, MSE is a partner in a sports and entertainment facility in southeast DC on the St. Elizabeth’s East campus that opened in Sept. 2018.