Virginia residents wishing to go to a bar and bet on the Washington Football Team — or any other sports event — will have a new option later this fall.
Grand Central Restaurant & Bar, located in the Adams Morgan section of town, is partnering with Elys Game Technology to operate what Elys believes to be the “first sportsbook of its kind to be operated within an independently owned business establishment in the U.S.”
Elys will operate both a sportsbook and kiosks inside the restaurant and bar.
“We have been a part of the vibrant Adams Morgan neighborhood since Grand Central opened in 2007,” Brian Vasile, owner of Grand Central, said in a statement.
“We are looking forward to offering our customers an extraordinary experience to wager on their favorite teams while enjoying our signature dishes and beverages for lunch, dinner or gathering for team events and special games or even just dropping in to place a wager.”
The DC Office of Lottery and Gaming issued Elys a Class B license. The company said in its release it hopes to have hardware installed for bets in October, with the mobile setup finalized sometime in early 2022.
Region Sees Decrease In Sports Wagers In July
It was also a rough month for operators inside the nation’s capital.
The latest fiscal report, released on Aug. 6, shows a steady decline not only in revenue for the city, but also in the number of wagers being placed. In July 2021 60,992 bets were placed, down from a high of 148,853 in January.
On Monday The Washington Post reported city officials and the makers of GameBetDC — the city’s own mobile app which up until recently had a monopoly on all sports bets in the city — blame the pandemic for low numbers.
But Byron Boothe, CEO of Intralot which administers GameBetDC, told the paper the city’s app would be more successful in the future if they paid out more winnings to prospective bettors.
“Books really are determined by their payout. … If the city decides it wants to stay in this space, either raise the payout to be competitive” or restrict other options for legal gambling in the city, he said. “That’s the choice the city has to make. The payout drives the player. … D.C. sets the payout, and winning is everything. If you can win more, you’re going to like it,” Booth told The Post.
Sports betting in D.C. began in 2020 during the height of pandemic. For a while, GameBetDC was the only game in town. Caesars began operating earlier this year a mobile app near Capital One Arena, home to the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, and Washington Mystics. Recently BetMGM announced a similar plan to operate in and around Nationals Park.