Sports

First sports betting venue inside a US pro sports arena is planned in the heart of DC

Key Points
  • William Hill US and Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner of pro sports teams including the Washington Capitals, are teaming on a sports book operation to be located inside D.C.'s Capital One Arena.
  • "We want to start to drive toward the future where big data and gamification really ups the game and makes a broader base for sports gaming and sports gambling," says Monumental CEO Ted Leonsis.
  • Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can legalize sports betting, breaking up Nevada's monopoly on the practice and paving the way for deals like the William Hill-Monumental effort.
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Monumental's Ted Leonsis and William Hill's Joe Asher on teaming up

The nation's leading sports book operator and the owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals professional sports teams are teaming up to put a sports betting venue inside D.C.'s downtown Capital One Arena.

The sports betting operation from William Hill US and Monumental Sports & Entertainment will be the first of its kind inside a U.S. sports arena. Capital One Arena is home to the Wizards, Capitals and the Washington Mystics women's pro basketball team. The arena and the teams are owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

"We want to start to drive toward the future where big data and gamification really ups the game and makes a broader base for sports gaming and sports gambling," Monumental Chairman and CEO Ted Leonsis told CNBC's "Squawk Box," shortly after Thursday's announcement. Leonsis helped build America Online in the early days into a internet powerhouse. He's also co-founder of Revolution Growth, a venture capital firm run by AOL co-founder Steve Case.

As part of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, William Hill also becomes the exclusive sports betting partner of the Wizards, Capitals, Mystics and Monumental.

"We want to focus on creating new products for a new generation," Leonsis said. "For me, the most important thing is growing the market. We don't want to keep this in a niche."

The planned sports book, operated by William Hill, will offer food and drinks alongside betting. The betting venue, which will be multiple floors, is expected to be open on a daily basis.

"Not only will people be able to go and bet over the counter, but you can bet on your mobile phones anywhere within the arena," William Hill CEO Joseph Asher said. Mobile sports betting is the future, he added, but stressed there's still a big market for retail sports "where people can congregate."

William Hill, founded in 1934 in Britain, established its gaming foothold in the U.S. in Las Vegas about seven years ago.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that states can legalize sports betting, breaking up Nevada's monopoly on the practice. Months after the decision several states and the District of Columbia legalized sports betting. However, establishing sports betting in D.C. has been mired in legal challenges.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals.