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DC United ‘in talks with Caesars Entertainment about opening sportsbook at Audi Field’

Major League Soccer team DC United is reportedly in talks with leading gaming and casino operator Caesars Entertainment about opening a sportsbook at Audi Field next year.

According to the Washington Post, the partnership could include Caesars becoming DC United’s shirt-sleeve sponsor as well, a new pilot scheme in MLS which begins in 2020.

Both parties are eager to open the sportsbook by spring, which could mean DC United becomes the first major professional sports team in the United States to launch such an operation. Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the NBA Washington Wizards and NHL Washington Capitals, is also looking open a sportsbook at Capital One Arena in 2020 in partnership with William Hill US.

Andy Bush, DC United’s chief business officer, told the Washington Post: “We are absolutely excited about the opportunity to partner with Caesars. It would be an incredible opportunity to engage with our fans.”

DC United must first apply for a license from the city council and pay $125,000 for a permit. The application process opens next week. The MLS club has been able to become a first-mover on this initiative by the provisions of the sports betting bill in Washington DC. The legalization process has stalled, however, and it is unclear when the licenses will be approved.

In June, MLS altered its commercial guidelines to allow its clubs to secure jersey and stadium naming-rights sponsorships with sports betting and liquor companies.

The league wants to ensure such commercial partnerships will be directed towards an “age-appropriate audience” by prohibiting sports betting and liquor sponsors on replica jerseys for children as well as on the uniforms worn by clubs’ youth teams, which would affect DC United’s deal with Caesars.

Read this: DC United leverages twin impact of Audi Field and ‘Rooney effect’ into new deals