Washington DC’s betting licence process to begin “within weeks”

Washington DC’s sports betting licence application is to begin within weeks after formal rules were approved by the District of Columbia regulator.

The Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) have given the green light to update plans which will see outlined matters such as licence terms, along with support implementation of the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act being passed by the DC City Council in December 2018.

The document also includes responses to comments on initial regulations by stakeholders, including DraftKings, William Hill and MGM Resorts, who are likely to apply for licences.

The OLG have said in a statement that it will release additional information and guidance to potential applicants for sports wagering licences as to prepares to formally launch the licensing process in the coming weeks.

DC Lottery executive director Beth Bresnahan, whose company has a contract with Intralot to run its sports betting operations, said: “The 115-page document incorporates feedback from potential operators in the District’s emerging sports wagering industry submitted during the public comment period that closed on July 15.

“The changes incorporated by the office largely provide further clarification to the operating community and did not fundamentally change the rules as initially proposed earlier this summer.”

The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act permits retail and digital sports betting in the capital, with has a population of almost 700,000 and teams in each of the major sports leagues.

Under the terms of the Act sports betting operators will also be able to trade in DC’s four major sports arenas and stadiums, as well as in other businesses, such as hotels, bars, and restaurants outside of a two-black radium from the sport complexes. However it is seen that no establishment within a two-block radius will be able to apply for a licence.

Class A licence fee for the four sports venues will be $500,000 for a five-year term, with the Class B licence for other locations costing $100,000.

Washington DC Council awarded Intralot a five-year contract to power the city lottery’s sports betting offering earlier this year, despite concerns over the manner in which the contract was handed to the Greek lottery and gaming solutions provider.

The contract in which Intralot could earn up to at total of $215m over the five-year term, was backed by seven council members, while five voted against. The Council used an emergency measure bypass a public procurement process, to ensure it did not lose sports betting revenue to the neighbouring states of Maryland and Virginia.

Figures released late last year by the districts chief financial officer, Jefferey DeWitt, estimated that a multiple-operator approach would yield $34.3m for state coffers between 2019 and 2022, in comparison with $92.2m through the single-operator approach via DC Lottery and partner Intralot, which has a contract that runs until March 2020.

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