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Leonsis plans sportsbook in Wizards’ Capital One Arena

Monumental Sports and Entertainment is planning to open a sportsbook in Washington’s Capital One Arena.

Ted Leonsis, chief executive of the Monumental group, whose teams include the NBA’s Washington Wizards, Stanley Cup-winning NHL team the Washington Capitals, and WNBA team the Washington Mystics, announced the news yesterday at the American Gaming Association Sports Betting Executive Summit in the same city.

“There will be a sportsbook in the building, accessible from outside. Depending on the league, depending on the event, it might be accessible from the inside as well,” Leonsis told reporters at a press conference during the event.

The sportsbook will be situated in the space currently occupied by the Green Turtle sports bar which sits next to the entrance to the Capital One Arena. Monumental had fuelled speculation that it was planning a retail betting operation when it bought out the bar’s lease three year ahead of its expiry.

The new operation will be the first retail sportsbook of its kind in the District of Columbia after DC Council passed a bill legalising sports betting. Any state that wishes to legalise sports betting can do so following a Supreme Court ruling last year which struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (Paspa), the federal law which essentially limited sports betting to the state of Nevada for the previous 25 years.

Leonsis and the Monumental group are already forging a reputation for innovation in the emerging betting space. On January 11 this year, the group organised a gaming-infused pilot broadcast of a match between its Washington Wizards team and the Milwaukee Bucks on an overflow channel on co-owned regional sports network NBC Sports Washington. The games acted as preparation for far more expansive gaming broadcasts ahead of  the legalisation of sports betting in the district.

Monumental majority owner and founder Ted Leonsis’ venture capital firm Revolution Growth has also demonstrated its appetite for the industry having already invested in fantasy sports operator DraftKings, data company Sportradar and sports betting start-up WinView.

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