Grand Central Restaurant Gets Class B License For Washington, DC Sportsbook

Written By Derek Helling on August 31, 2021 - Last Updated on September 30, 2021
Grand Central

A popular sports bar in the nation’s capital is the first to get regulatory clearance to become more than just a place to dine and watch games.

On Tuesday, the DC Lottery issued its first Class B license, paving the way for a Grand Central DC sportsbook.

The restaurant, located in Washington, DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, is a holding of Annapolis-based A&B Hospitality, which also owns the Brickside Food and Drink in Bethesda.

Despite the MD connections, it might not be the most comfortable place for Baltimore Ravens or Washington Football Team fans to put bets down later this fall.

Details for the Grand Central DC sportsbook

There is no firm date for when the sports bar will start accepting wagers from patrons. Many other details are concrete, though.

For starters, Grand Central wants to have its betting kiosks and windows running by October. It isn’t clear how many of either the space will offer.

The sportsbook plans to accept wagers seven days a week. Betting hours will be from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily, provided the Lottery grants final approval after the final inspection of the system. While the exact branding of the sportsbook is still unclear, Grand Central does have an operational partnership.

ELYS Gaming will manage the system for Grand Central. That not only applies to retail operations but a future mobile app as well. In compliance with DC law, that online component will only be available in the restaurant and within a two-block radius.

Although Grand Central is the first establishment of this kind to get a sports betting license from the DC Lottery, it likely won’t be the last. Other similar establishments, such as Handle19, have designs on identical enterprises.

The path to success for these businesses will be in converting beverage/food customers into bettors and vice versa. Grand Central is designed to appeal to a select clientele during the NFL season.

Home away from home in DC for one NFL fan base

If you’re a Buffalo Bills fan in Washington, DC, during the NFL season, you’ll love Grand Central. The decor of the establishment is that which would make any Bills Mafia member proud. It’s too early to say how that might affect the sportsbook product, if at all.

Given the fact that Grand Central has essentially “handed the keys” of the sportsbook over to ELYS, the Bills “homerism” might not have any real impact on the sportsbook. On the other hand, in keeping with the theme of the place, maybe ELYS throws in a Bills-based promo or two during the season.

Even those bettors who are fans of other NFL teams might find reasons to stop by, though. Those reasons could be very tangible in the form of competitive odds. The only sportsbook available legally throughout the District, GambetDC, continues to post shorter odds than its growing competition.

If it means getting -110 odds instead of -130 odds for NFL betting, fans of other NFL teams might endure the Bills aesthetic, at least long enough to get down the bet. Before October commences, that should be an option for all DC residents and visitors.

Photo by AP / Jeffrey T. Barnes
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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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