PlayUSA Rewind: William Hill Introduces Retail Sportsbook At DC Arena

Posted on August 4, 2020 - Last Updated on September 8, 2020

What a weekend.

For the first time in months, there was rarely a time when you could turn on the TV and not see some major sports going on. (!!!)

The MLB is in full swing, the NBA tipped off and the NHL returned to the ice. No doubt operators in the legalized sports betting world enjoyed those few days. Probably not as much as fans or bettors. No matter.

It seems only fitting that regulated wagering provides this week’s theme.

On to the Rewind:

William Hill makes DC sports betting debut

For a little more than two months, bettors in Washington, DC, have been stuck with a single, not-very-impressive legal sports betting platform.

Fortunately, William Hill strolled into town and provided the first alternative.

The veteran operator soft-launched a temporary retail sportsbook in the box office of Capital One Arena, home to the likes of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals.

Leveraging a partnership with Monumental Sports and Entertainment announced in 2019, the temporary space is taking advantage of unused ticket windows. Of course, no teams are playing in the arena due to the coronavirus pandemic.

William Hill could breathe new life into the area’s sports betting world, which has only featured fledgling GambetDC via the lottery. The online sportsbook has featured uncompetitive odds, among other issues, and bettors have struggled with the signup process.

Now William Hill enters with more attractive odds, powered by a well-known operator — even if it is retail-only.

Sports betting bill in Massachusetts stalls

A promising push for legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts could not clear a hurdle in the Senate.

Dubbed H 4887, the measure that aimed to funnel funds to various projects (including from regulated wagering) underwent an amendment regarding sports betting language. Ultimately, though, the Senate did not approve it.

As explained to Legal Sports ReportSen. Michael Brady, author of the amendment, believes more input from other groups are needed before legalizing the industry, including from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the state lottery.

While the Senate threw up the stop sign, regulated wagering still has hope. The formal session has ended, but the legislature is still holding an informal session throughout the calendar year.

During that time, Brady told Legal Sports Report, “we will be discussing” the legalization of sports betting.

Among other requirements, the House proposal called for revenue-sharing agreements between sportsbooks and leagues, which would be a first in the US.

As for amendments, one included raising revenue tax from 15% to as high as 50%.

Perhaps it’s a good thing lawmakers are tabling the discussion for now.

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Sports betting revenue slumps in Nevada

Without major American sports available, of course legalized sports betting in America would take a financial hit.

Now we know just how big that hit was, courtesy of Nevada.

During the second quarter of 2020, regulated wagering in the Silver State took in just $134.4 million in bets (a massive 86.1% drop-off year over year, resulting in a mere $2.2 million in revenue. For comparison, New Jersey and Pennsylvania reported $337.4 million and $212.5 million during the same time, respectively.

For Nevada, this quarter includes June, when bookmakers accepted $78.2 million in handle. But more important, in losing $548,000, Nevada sports betting had its streak of 83 straight months of winning come to a close.

Fortunately, the industry should see an immediate rebound. With MLB returning for the final week-plus of the month and the NBA resuming play near the tail end, it seems only rational that July will bounce back for Nevada.

Then consider August, when those two major sports are in action alongside the NHL, and then September, when the NFL aims for kickoff.

Yes, the summer’s end and fall’s beginning will no doubt be substantial for Nevada sports betting.

Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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