Nationals Park Becomes First MLB Venue to Offer Sportsbook App

General News Nationals Park opens online sportsbook
Jun 16, 2021 12:06Tim Ronaldson

A unique new online sportsbook opened recently in Washington, D.C. The online sportsbook is run by BetMGM but is tethered to Nationals Park, the home to the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball.

This is the first online sportsbook app that is tethered to a venue in MLB, and it could pave the way for more agreements like it at sports stadiums and venues around the country.

A retail sportsbook will follow later this year at Nationals Park, but people can begin betting on sports now by downloading and accessing the online sportsbook app.

Unique Aspects to the Betting App

In addition to being the first sports betting app working directly with a team in MLB, there are some other unique aspect to this BetMGM app. The District of Columbia and the state of Illinois are the only two jurisdictions that allow sportsbooks to operate out of sports venues.

While the laws in Washington, D.C., allow people to access the online sports betting app when they are physically located in the District of Columbia, there are further restrictions. For example, you can only place a bet on the app if you are located in a two-block radius around Nationals Park.

This is a very unique geolocation requirement that isn't seen too many other places. Ultimately, it was probably put in place to encourage people to travel to Nationals Park.

If they're forced to be near Nationals Park to place a sports betting wager, maybe they'll buy a ticket to go see a baseball game, too. If not, they might at least go to one of the restaurants, bars or other establishments in and around the stadium.

Not the First Sportsbook in D.C.

As mentioned, Washington, D.C., really is leading the way in unique partnershipsbetween sports betting operators and professional sports franchises.

William Hill actually became the first sportsbook operator in the country to operate out of a major sporting venue in the United States. In May, they opened a retail sportsbook location inside of Capital One Arena, which is where both the Washington Capitals of the NHL and Washington Wizards of the NBA play their home games.

The Washington Football Team is the fourth major professional sports franchise in the region, but they don't operate within the city limits. As such, if they wanted to open a similar retail sportsbook, they'd have to consult with Maryland, since FedEx Field is located in Landover, Maryland.

In Illinois, DraftKings has been working to start a retail sportsbook of their own at a sporting venue. The plan is to open that in Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs of MLB.

For now, though, Nationals Park is the first in MLB to offer a sportsbook connected to their arena. And it's all starting in reverse of how most arrangements start -- with an online sportsbook coming before a retail sportsbook.

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Tim Ronaldson
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Tim Ronaldson is a writer, blogger and marketer. He loves all things sports, especially covering the sports betting industry. He joined the AmericaGambles Team 2020 and is mainly responsible for columns and extensive reportage articles.
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