The D.C. Lottery announced that their mobile sports betting service, GamebetDC, will launch at the end of May. Gamblers will be able to start betting through the app by early June.
The announcement comes after multiple delayed launches of their mobile betting service. GamebetDC planned to launch April 1 before the novel coronavirus hit.
Now, the D.C. Lottery has decided to launch very soon as team sports plan to restart their seasons. Although not many sports are being played right now, the D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming said this will be a “soft launch”.
Anyone 18 years or older will be allowed to place a bet as long as they are in D.C. jurisdiction. Also, gamblers will be able to place bets two blocks of Audi Field, Capital One Arena, Nationals Park, and Entertainment and Sports Arena.
Why the Delay’s
The D.C. Lottery had originally hoped to launch in September of 2019. The goal was to get the mobile betting service running before the start of the NFL season. The city was facing a lawsuit with a no-bid contract awarded to Intralot. A judge blocked DC from launching in September.
In January, GamebetDC was planning for another launch in March, according to DC Legislators. The goal was to have the app up and running in time for the MLB. Also, this would have tied up with the college basketballs March Madness tournament.
When the coronavirus hit the U.S., the D.C. Lottery announced that they would delay the launch until sports came back.
Early June Start
Although COVID-19 delayed D.C.’s mobile sports betting launch, there are more sports not to bet on compared to April.
Since the pandemic began, multiple leagues and individual sports across the world have started back up. Overseas, the KBO in South Korea and Bundesliga in Germany have started playing games, but with no fans.
In the U.S., UFC, NASCAR, and Golf have all held events on American soil. The PGA will begin holding events with no fans in June, and the NHL just announced to go into a 24-team playoff if the season returns. The NBA and MLB also plan on a 2020 return but are still proposing the best plan for their leagues.
Although the situation isn’t ideal for sports betting, it is still better than the circumstances the world was facing in April. They will continue to improve as the world recovers from the coronavirus outbreak.
Right now, even though gaming companies had a chance to set up operations in the DC area, only William Hill has entered the market. Their sportsbook will be in Capital One Arena.
This gives a lot of opportunities for multiple sportsbooks and gaming companies to move in on a new market amid their official launch. D.C. United was in talks with Caesars Entertainment to open a sportsbook at Audi Field. With only two gaming companies in the market, this could give someone an idea to set up operations in D.C. with the market being so new.
The D.C. area could be a testing ground for opening operations in sports arenas. With the District of Columbia being a smaller area compared to states and cities, gaming companies could be creative with opening books in the arenas to attract more bettors while they’re watching their favorite teams.
The D.C. area is entering a new phase of sports betting and has little competition in the market. This could change as more sports return to their seasons.