Bars Want DC Sportsbooks Operating Before Lottery Books Open

By Jake Perper

August 23rd, 2019 - 12:17pm

The DC sports betting scene is interesting, as sports bars that are interested in installing sportsbooks in the nation’s capital are trying to get a jump on accepting legal sports bets, D.C. NBC affiliate WRC reported.

Between the restaurants and bars teaming up to develop a sports betting app and the DC Lottery making a city app, progress is being made for residents and visitors to bet on sports there.

Gaming Association Spearheading Bar Efforts

Jeff Ifrah, the founder of iDevelopment and Economic Association (iDEA) Growth, a gaming industry association, is spearheading the effort for BetDC to get the restaurants and bars to team up on sports betting. Specifically, a network of a dozen bars and restaurants want to band together and split the high costs to develop the app for customers to use for sports betting at their businesses.

Ifrah’s idea includes these bars and restaurants sharing the costs of sports gambling which include obtaining sports data and processing payments.

”It’s hard to convince a bar and restaurant to take a chance on increases in food and beverage revenue,” Ifrah said in a statement via his law website, “The idea is to really help distribute and lessen the burden of the expenses.”

What’s left to sort out is how much it will cost to develop this sports betting program and whether it will be worth the sports bars’ time.

DC Lottery Sportsbook Plans

On Monday, the DC Lottery told the bar and restaurant owners that they can work together and share an app, according to the WRC report. But, according to the they still need to figure out if their own city app through the DC Lottery is working on will work in those spots.

The app is going to be unavailable in big sporting venues to give those places exclusive gaming rights and no competition. Restaurants and bars are not slated to get that kind of exclusivity.

The DC Lottery is still working on the sports betting app regulations. It is aiming to have the city app ready by January, likely missing the lucrative football season.

Small businesses could offer legal sports betting even sooner with seven bars and restaurants expressing interest in the apps. The licensing applications are expected to be ready by September with the first ones possible approved by mid-October. It takes 30 to 45 days to grant these provisional licenses and the aim is that that is when the first bets in D.C. be made.

If all goes well, D.C. bars and restaurants would be able to offer legal sports betting around midway through the NFL season.

One issue with the D.C. sports betting scene is that there are no casinos or racetracks in the area. Going through the bars and restaurants will be a different endeavor and one that could work initially. But the DC Lottery will have a lot of authority over the issue.
Written By
Jake Perper

Jake Perper covers gambling news for He has been a sports writer for a decade, covering every level of sports.

He’s currently the lead scout for Prep Hoops Florida based out of Tampa, Florida and has covered the Chicago Bears for the... Read More

Jake Perper covers gambling news for He has been a sports writer for a decade, covering every level of sports.

He’s currently the lead scout for Prep Hoops Florida...

.. Read More