UK bookmaker William Hill is about to go someplace that not many bookmakers ever get to go, the inside of a major US sports arena. According to published reports, construction is already underway on a William Hill outlet inside the Capitol One Sports Arena in Washington D.C.
The arena, which is home to the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals, will be home to a full-service sportsbook that will offer odds on a variety of events including whatever local sports team is playing at that moment. The very presence of regulated sports betting of any kind inside of a professional sports arena shows exactly what kind of seismic shift has taken place in the US gaming market since the introduction of regulated sports betting.
William Hill officials are envisioning a pretty elaborate affair at the new betting parlor. Plans call for a multi-level operation that will have a street-facing retail side that’s set to be open all year round.
Joe Asher, president of William Hill US told ESPN.com that he predicts the new sportsbook will engage fans in new ways. He points out a Capitols game where the team is down early and the fans show their support with increased wagering. Here’s how he describes it, “There would have been a lot of people betting on them to come back and win. And you get good odds when you’re betting on the team that’s behind to come back and win the game. So that just sort of drives further engagement. It gives people reason to watch more, to watch till the very end.”
Along with opening the sportsbook in the Capitol One Sports Arena, William Hill has also signed on to become the official sports betting partner of the Wizards, the Capitols, and the WNBA franchise, the Washington Mystics.
The new sportsbook is set to open sometime in 2020.