New agreement replaces Caesars deal
D.C. United announced on October 27 the selection of FanDuel as the operator of their retail sportsbook at Audi Field. Previously, the Major League Soccer (MLS) team had planned to launch the facility in partnership with Caesars Entertainment.
The sports betting operator took to Twitter to announce the agreement:
The new plan is to have the Audi Field sportsbook open in 2021, pending the relevant D.C. Lottery regulatory and licensing approval. It will operate 365 days a year and have both self-service terminals and betting windows.
Speaking about the exclusive multi-year deal, D.C. United’s chief strategy officer Sam Porter said: “FanDuel Sportsbook is best-in-class and we believe their expertise, technology and product will provide our fans, guests at Audi Field and the Buzzard Point neighborhood a full slate of entertainment options.” FanDuel CEO Matt King said the plan behind the latest deal is to elevate the fan experience at the team’s Washington, D.C. home stadium.
the first time that FanDuel is partnering with an MLS team
This is the first time that FanDuel is partnering with an MLS team. Currently, FanDuel has a dozen retail sportsbooks across nine states, with mobile sportsbooks live in seven states.
The original plan
The original plan was for the Audi Field sportsbook to open in spring 2020 through a partnership with Caesars. Entertainment space at the stadium underwent redevelopment last winter to cater for a sportsbook facility. The casino company’s logo also featured on the right sleeve of the team’s game jersey during the most recent MLS season. However, the COVID-19 pandemic led to setbacks in the sportsbook launch.
partnership between Caesars Entertainment and D.C. United will reportedly end this year
Now, the partnership between Caesars Entertainment and D.C. United will reportedly end this year. There has been no official comment from either party about the termination of the agreement.
Sports betting in D.C.
The launch of retail sportsbooks at locations such as Audi Field has been a slow process. Sports betting in Washington, D.C. became legal in January 2019 when Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation into law. Numerous delays followed.
The awarding of an exclusive online sports betting license to Intralot without a competitive bidding process faced a lot of contention. Since the Intralot-operated GamBetDC online sportsbook finally launched in May 2020, many bettors have had issues with the competitiveness of the odds.
The major sports arenas in the district can launch sportsbooks and enjoy a two-block exclusivity zone. This saw a William Hill sportsbook open at the Capital One Arena in August.
There are also plans for a sportsbook to open at Nationals Park, south of the Capitol.