William Hill US has transformed the box office at Capital One Arena in downtown DC into a temporary bookie.
Bettors lined up outside the Capital One Arena on Monday morning, waiting for the opening ceremony to end so they could start betting on the professional sports that take place that evening.
With no sporting events inside, the ticket office area along F Street at Capital One Arena has remained dormant. But now, instead of spending more money to get a ticket to a game, sports fans can go to the same windows and fork out money for a bet ticket, hoping to make some money. .
William Hill US turned the Capital One Arena box office into a temporary bookmaker. Bettors cannot watch the games indoors, but there are windows and kiosks that take cash bets. Those who place bets can get in and out in a matter of minutes.
The temporary concept saw the light of day in just about a month.
“We said, ‘Hey, you know what? The three major sports are coming back, ”said Dave Grolman, president of retail operations at William Hill US. “How about we do a temporary book here at Capital One?”
The first ceremonial bets were made by fans of the local teams: David Feldman, whose family has had season tickets to the Washington Capitals since they first took to the ice; David Dwornik, who brought his ticket from the Bullets’ first game ever to the Capitol Center; and Angela Tilghman, a Washington Mystics fan. All three bet on their favorite teams, making bets from the heart.
Once they were done, other people started betting on different sports in action, using terms such as “parlay” and “money line”. These words mean a lot to some people, but to others it can be confusing. To assist you, staff are available and there are also information brochures.
“If you’ve never been to a bookie before, it can be a little scary,” said Grolman, who said the first time he bet on a ball game he was made fun of by the cashier for using the wrong terminology. “I’ll never forget that and we’re making sure the same doesn’t happen here.”
On Monday at the kiosks there was someone standing nearby to help, and in one case a man could be seen helping a bettor figure out exactly what he wanted to bet on. Another person was circling around with a spray of disinfectant cleaner and a rag, giving each machine a quick clean after someone made a bet.
This temporary facility is expected to be in place until the end of November, when a larger two-story facility opens next to the ticket office in the space that was once occupied by the green turtle.
William Hill’s mobile app is also expected to be up and running in about a month, giving punters an additional way to deposit money, this time without having to use cash. However, those who place bets will be limited to a small area around Capital One Arena.
Still, with so many seasoned punters unhappy with the chances they get of DC’s Gambet app, which can be used citywide, it could provide some competition.
Grolman said the frustration had nothing to do with creating this temporary bookmaker.
“What we’ve seen across the country is that people are eager to start betting on sports again,” he said.
Now is generally considered a slow time of year for the sport, with only baseball on the schedule.
“You have a great time with basketball, baseball and the Stanley Cup,” said Grolman.