William Hill Sportsbook DC Arena
William Hill has opened its first US in-arena sportsbook at the Capital One Arena in Washington DC
It has been a long time coming, but there is finally a retail sportsbook available at an arena in the United States. With more expected to follow, placing a bet at a game or event will be second nature, like grabbing a beer or a refreshment. The first of its kind in the US, the William Hill sportsbook at the Capital One Arena in Washington DC officially opened on Wednesday. Over the next few years, many industry experts believe pro sports venues in any jurisdiction that has legalized sports betting will have a sportsbook either connected to or inside the arena.
However, currently, the Capital One Arena, home to NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards, both owned by Ted Leonsis, is the pioneer for having a permanent sportsbook. Therefore, even though the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Wednesday, this was simply the official opening as William Hill had been operating a placeholder sportsbook at the location since last year.
Nevertheless, the grand opening was a chance to gain some exposure and an excellent PR opportunity to show off the superb space, which boasts 18,000 square feet of sports betting on two floors, odds boards, giant TVs, and a five-star dining and beverage service.
In addition to Leonsis, other heavyweight attendees included Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, which recently acquired William Hill. At some point in the future, William Hill’s sportsbooks will be rebranded as Caesars.
Leonsis said that this is the first step “in the reinvention of the role arenas play in the community.” He said that their TV network partners are “so happy that sports gaming has been approved.”
Attracting A Younger Crowd
Leonsis was a tech executive in his younger days and has always been fascinated with the fusion of data and Internet-driven information with sports gaming. He believes that unique combination will attract younger audiences.
He said that “the powering through big data and these digital platforms” helps boost fan engagement and results in fans “falling more and more in love with the teams and the arenas.” He stressed that they want to be “innovators” by taking away the stigma surrounding gambling and instead focus on “a great high engagement using data and digital platforms.”
Leonsis is sure other teams and venues will follow, which makes the Capital One Arena an “exemplar.” Reeg described the opening of the sportsbook as a “ground-breaking moment” for the sports betting industry in the US.
More Sportsbooks to open in Arenas
It won’t be long before similar in-venue sportsbooks open. For example, in Washington DC, Nationals Park, home to the baseball Washington Nationals, is waiting for the opening of a BetMGM sportsbook. Additionally, the world-famous Wrigley Field in Chicago will boast a DraftKings sportsbook.
In the near future, sportsbooks will open at pro sports venues in Arizona, where that type of sports betting was a significant piece of the puzzle in recently passed gambling legislation. It is a similar story in Maryland, where sportsbooks in venues are part of the new sports betting law. Recognizing this, the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens recently announced BetMGM as its sports betting partner.
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