Sports betting will not arrive as planned in Washington D.C. in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has suspended almost every major sport for an indefinite period.
House Bill 2638—which would legalise sports betting “subject to the terms of tribal-state gaming compacts”—was approved and signed off on March 25, allowing residents to wager on their favorite sports.
However, spokesperson for the city’s Office of Lottery and Gaming, Nicole Jordan, told Ron Fritz of Gambling.com the previous plans to go ahead this month have been shelved due to COVID-19:
“Almost all professional sports leagues globally have indefinitely suspended play amidst the growing concerns around COVID-19 and there are little-to-no games or bets to offer for the foreseeable future. This goes for the lottery’s offering, as well as any other sports books operating in the U.S. and globally.
“We will be ready to fully debut our sportsbook when it is appropriate and safe to do.”
A single app is being developed to operate Washington D.C.’s sports betting functions, and it’s expected that land-based sites offering bets could follow afterwards.
Martin Austermuhle of WAMU 88.5 reported that the D.C. Council estimated in 2018 that sports betting revenue could be worth $20 million per year to the city, though any revenue will now be delayed.
This isn’t the first time that the launch of sports betting in Washington D.C. has been delayed, though the rise in coronavirus cases in the U.S. is understandable reasoning, to say the least.