Proposed sportsbook on Capitol Hill on hold

The spot at 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE where the sports book Handle 19 is trying to open. (WTOP/John Domen)

Some residents in the Capitol Hill neighborhood have been trying to get city regulators to deny a liquor license to a Virginia businessman’s proposed sportsbook in Southeast D.C. However, the battle is on hold.

The Class B sports betting license Shane August, a Virginia Beach-based venture capitalist, working to open Handle 19 on 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE has been denied.

It’s not clear why it was rejected. The executive director order by D.C’s Office of Lottery and Gaming, released by gaming news site Sportshandle, said Handle 19 did not meet the requirements for a license due to findings made during the the background investigation.

When asked to provide specific reasons for the rejection, gaming officials said it would be improper to disclosed confidential information.

August withdrew the application in time to prevent the denial from becoming permanent.

If August hadn’t withdrawn his application, industry experts said the rejection would have rendered him ineligible to apply again in D.C., and been a serious detriment to any future efforts to get a license in other states.

WTOP has reached out several times to August in recent days for comment. His company told Sportshandle that he intends to resubmit a new application later this year.

If he does, he’ll need to pay the $100,000 application fee again. The withdrawal of the initial application does not provide for a refund.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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