Washington sports betting launch delayed

Simona Boshkova | Published 31 Mar 2020, 10:50 a.m.

As it seems, the current situation with Covid-19 is making things change on a daily basis. Just last week, we reported that sports betting has finally become legal in Washington after Governor Jay Inslee signed the sports wagering bill. However, the launch of sports betting in Washington will be delayed because of Covid-19. As we already know, the Covid-19 outbreak caused the postponement of many sports events all over the world, so it’s not a surprise that Washington decided to delay its sports betting launch.

Last week, the Washington Indian Gaming Association executive informed that all casinos in the US are temporarily closed due to the current situation. Such decisions of closing betting shops and delaying the launch of new ones are made all over the world. For example, the UK government has instructed all betting shops, casinos, and bingo halls to temporarily close as part of its measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The sports betting launch strategy will be revised

Two weeks ago, it was noted that the D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming would launch a Washington sports betting app and website by the end of the month. However, Washington’s plan is now indefinitely delayed.

Nicole Jordan, the spokeswoman of the Office of Lottery and Gaming, said that the lottery will revise its launch strategy according to the current state of world events. She explained that almost all professional sports leagues have been indefinitely suspended and there are almost no games or bets planned for the near future. The spokeswoman added that the lottery will be ready to fully launch its sportsbook when it is appropriate and safe to do. 

The preparation for the D.C. launch continues

Moreover, the spokeswoman said that the lottery will continue its work with Intralot, the technology vendor, on preparing the sports betting digital platforms. When launched, sports betting in Washington will be available on a mobile app and a website. Jordan explained that both the app and the website have been through quality and verification testing, as well as through compliance with district and federal laws.

Once the sports betting in D.C. goes live, players will be able to register online or on their smartphones. The sportsbook will offer a variety of sports games and leagues with different betting types. It is expected that in the upcoming days, the lottery will release information on how the sportsbook will work.

This is not the first Washington sports betting delay

It’s not the first time the Washington lottery has seen a sports betting delay. Namely, sports betting was expected to become legalised in time for the 2019 NFL season, but the lawsuits pushed it back. Then, the D.C. Council suspended normal procurement procedures and gave a mobile betting contract to Intralot. However, the district was sued and the contract was temporarily suspended.

After that, a Superior Court judge dismissed the lawsuit in December 2019. A couple of days after this decision, the council voted to expel Jack Evans who introduced sports betting legislation in Washington in 2018. The council member resigned in January. As time passed, nearby states like Virginia and Maryland had legalised sports betting, so the D.C. legislation was expedited.

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