With all events on D.C.’s Capital One Arena schedule canceled or postponed right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, the dormant box office has found a new use: It has become a temporary sportsbook.
The retail location — the District’s first one — offers seven betting windows and 10 automated kiosks operated by William Hill.
It will accept cash bets while still meeting CDC distancing guidelines and be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, according to William Hill.
A soft opening of the facility happened Friday afternoon, with a formal opening set for Monday, Aug. 3.
Later this fall, a larger sportsbook facility is scheduled to open where the Greene Turtle restaurant used to operate at Capitol One Arena along F Street.
For the past few months, the only place in the D.C. area where one could legally bet on sports was through the D.C. Lottery’s GambetDC app, though the odds provided to bettors has drawn criticism for being less competitive than typical sportsbooks and illegal, offshore apps.
Another sportsbook is in the works in D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, as well as in a space across the street from Nationals Park that the team is building with the city.
Other restaurants and bars across the District have also been working on a plan to bring betting kiosks and a mobile app to their venues in the future.