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Grand Central Bar in DC launches retail sports betting

Grand Central DC sports betting

Grand Central Bar & Restaurant in Washington DC is now taking legal bets following the launch of its retail sportsbook on October 4.

In an official statement last week, the Adam Morgan located facility announced that it had received clearance from the District of Columbia Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG), allowing it to start offering bookmaking services to residents of The District and visitors.

The facility kicked off its sports betting operations on Monday, in a ceremony attended by the Director of the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development, Kristi Whitfield. The sports book features two betting kiosks and a live window where patrons can place bets with the help of a ticket writer.

Grand Central and its partner, Elys Game Technology, have also announced plans to launch a geo-fenced mobile betting app that players can use to place bets from within its premises by next year.

The venue is the first bar and restaurant in the District to receive a Class B sports wagering operator license, and also the first establishment of its kind to launch the offering without partnering with the DC Lottery.

Elys enters US Market with Grand Central partnership

The opening of the Grand Central sportsbook is a significant milestone for the Toronto-based Elys Game Technology.

The alliance with Grand Central Bar & Restaurant is the company’s first partnership with a licensed operator in the regulated US sports betting market, and the approval from the DC regulator is also its first in the country.

The company will be advice on risk management and other bookmaking services to Grand Central under a Management Services Provider permit. Elys is also using its flagship Gameboard US platform to power the sportsbook.

Commenting on the milestone, Elys Game Technology Executive Chairman Michele Ciavarella said: “This moment has been eagerly awaited by our entire team and shareholders for the better part of three years and we are very pleased to share this significant milestone event with Brian Vasile and the team at Grand Central, along with all of our partners and CBE businesses in Washington DC that were instrumental not only in preparing our technology and product delivery but also staff training and diligently planning for a successful opening.”

The Chairman went on to say that the sportsbook at Grand Central would provide the perfect opportunity for Elys to showcase its market-leading sport betting technology as it continues to work on securing more partnerships in the US market.

Current state of DC sports betting

The District of Columbia legalized both online and retail sports betting in December 2018, paving the way for the Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) to regulate the market.

The jurisdiction’s sports wagering laws allow both retail and mobile betting, and those eligible to operate sportsbooks in the District include the DC Lottery, professional sports venues, and small businesses. However, the DC Lottery is the only entity allowed to run a statewide mobile sportsbook.

The market is legal for residents of the Capital and visitors who are at least 18 years old.

Washington DC began taking legal wagers in June 2020 when the Lottery launched its GamBetDC app. In June this year, William Hill opened the District’s first in-person wagering venue at Capital One Arena, and just a month later, BetMGM made its debut in DC with a geo-fenced betting app that sports fans can use within a two-block radius of the Nationals Park.

The DC Lottery also has four retail locations across the District where sports fans can place in-person bets on various markets. They include Ben’s Next Door on U Street, Dirty Water Sports Bar on H Street NE, Lou’s City Bar on Irving Street NW, and Takoma Station Tavern on 4th Street NW.

The new Elys-powered sportsbook at Grand Central is the third standalone retail betting venue in the District, and the only facility operating under a Class B license.

Other operators targeting the DC market include FanDuel, which has applied for a Class A Operator permit to run a sportsbook at Audi Field, and the Cloakroom’s Gentlemen’s Club on K Street. Both license applications are under review, according to the OLG website.

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