DC’s First Small Business Sports Gambling Outlet Plans to Open on PA Avenue, SE
by Larry Janezich
Shane August, a Virginia healthcare entrepreneur, aims to be the first small business in DC to open a sportsbook – a sports gambling establishment that takes bets on sporting events and pays out winnings – and has leased the former Stanton & Greene/Pour House/Politiki at 319 Pennsylvania Avenue for the site of Handel 19, his proposed the restaurant/bar sports betting venue.
ANC6B will consider August’s application for a sports betting license on Tuesday night at its September meeting. Last Thursday, the ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee was generally in favor of the application, but voted 4 – 0 to take “no position” in referring the application to the full ANC in order to give nearby residents an opportunity to voice their opinions at the upcoming virtual meeting tomorrow night. (See details about how to join the meeting below*.)
August envisions the first floor of the restaurant as primarily for hospitality with the second floor for sports wagering. The payout center where patrons will receive their winnings will be in the basement.
August told the Committee that there will be wagering on all three floors. The space is currently being remodeled, and that will continue over the next 4 – 5 weeks. Total occupancy will be limited to 199 – with a total of 60 seats on the first and second floors. Handle 19’s proposed hours of operation are 11:00am – 1:00am Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00am – 2:30am on Friday and Saturday.
He said he expects the place to draw customers from the Metropolitan area – that’s when one of the commissioners started wondering about traffic and parking, and how the nearby residents would be affected. That, in turn, prompted the “no position” verdict.
August says the license has the conditional approval Office of Lottery and he hopes to open as soon as remodeling is complete and ABRA gives final approval and conducts an onsite physical inspection.
Mayor Bowser signed the Sports Wagering Procurement Practices Reform Exemption Act – sponsored by then-CM Jack Evans – into law in January, 2019. Unlike other states which have legalized gambling, the law provided a way for small businesses to offer sportbooks, via a class B license under which the establishment must be paired with a restaurant. Class A licenses are reserved for organizations tied to the major entertainment venues of the city, which currently includes Capital One Arena, Nationals Park, Audi Field, and St. Elizabeth’s East Entertainment and Sports Arena.
*Click on this link to go to the ANC6B Calendar. https://www.anc6b.org/calendar/ – Click on the Full ANC 6B Meeting notice.