No DeLorean Necessary: Marylanders Can Get Glimpse Of Future At New DC Sportsbook

Written By Derek Helling on October 7, 2021 - Last Updated on February 18, 2022
grand central dc sportsbook

The first of what will probably be several Class B sports betting operations in Washington, DC is live and taking bets. For Marylanders, the Grand Central DC sportsbook affords them another legal option adjacent to the Old Line State.

More than that, though, it offers MD residents a taste of what’s to come in their commonwealth when Maryland sports betting gets going. In this way, the two jurisdictions’ regulatory structures are similar.

Grand Central DC sportsbook is now taking bets

Grand Central is nothing new to the Adams Morgan district of the nation’s capital. Buffalo Bills fans in DC have found the sports bar a welcome center of camaraderie during the NFL season for years.

However, NFL betting odds at the bar is very new. The bar became the first establishment to receive a Class B license from the DC Lottery in late August. Then, its two betting kiosks and betting window opened for business earlier this week.

Currently, the only option on-site is cash. At some point, the sportsbook will roll out its mobile sports-betting application that patrons can use inside and within a two-block radius of the bar.

All the same regulations that apply to the DC Lottery’s GambetDC online sportsbook are in effect at Grand Central. For example, you must be at least 21 years of age to bet, and there is no wagering on in-District college teams like Georgetown University.

That’s an aspect that Marylanders will recognize, as there’s no way to legally bet on their college teams in-state right now because MD sportsbooks haven’t launched yet. There are several other similarities that make returning to Grand Central like going “back to the future” for Marylanders.

MD sports bars could have similar amenities in the future

Like in DC, the law in MD creates a special class of sports betting licenses just for smaller businesses like sports bars. Just like with Grand Central, such licenses would allow applicants to take wagers from patrons of age, upon approval.

For businesses like Grand Central, there are perks that come with the costs. It’s another amenity to market, for one thing, to attract customers. The biggest benefit is that it provides another way to part customers from their money while they’re on-site.

It’s a pretty simple concept. If you’ve got some skin in a game and it’s on one of the TVs at the bar, you’re more likely to stick around to watch it. While you’re there, you’re probably going to get hungry or thirsty. You might even celebrate hitting a big bet by buying a round of drinks for your crew, which provides the bar with a way to recoup some of that loss.

There are definitely costs associated with this offering, though. On top of the licensing fees and any revenue-sharing agreements with the odds providers, there’s the cost of bettors’ wins.

For that reason, it’s uncertain how many eligible MD businesses will get in on this opportunity when the time comes. If MD residents want to try the product out now, though, they can just head to Grand Central, and preferably while driving under 88 miles per hour.

Photo by Dreamstime / Photodynamx
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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