ANC6B Lawyers-Up to Protest Liquor License for Sports Betting on Pennsylvania Ave SE

ANC6B Lawyers-Up to Protest Liquor License for Sports Betting on Pennsylvania Ave SE

by Larry Janezich

Posted December 20, 2020

ANC6B has authorized the expenditure of up to $14,000 in attorney fees for representation before the Alcohol Beverage Regulatory Administration’s (ABRA) scheduled protest hearing on a liquor license for a proposed sports betting outlet on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.  The hearing will probably take place next February. 

ABRA doesn’t have anything to do with the gambling license which is governed by DC Lottery.  The owners of Handle-19 – the city’s first retail sports gambling venue – correctly say they can open a gambling house without a liquor license. 

But, the rules say you can’t just open a gambling joint – you have to have something else there as well, like a restaurant or a bar.  And if you want to serve alcohol – which often goes hand in hand with betting – you need a liquor license. 

Residential neighbors near 319 Pennsylvania Avenue – the planned future home of Handle 19 – are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the place from opening.  They urge protesting the liquor license on the grounds of peace, order, and quiet, including the noise and litter provisions of the DC Code as well as residential parking needs,vehicular and pedestrian safety, and the effect of the establishment on real property values.  They stress the outlet’s proximity to several schools and day care centers. 

They hope that denying a liquor license will make the location so unattractive the owner will look elsewhere.  The attorney says, not, that they will open retail sports betting with or without alcohol.

ANC6B voted 6 – 2 – 1 in November to join the protest, with Commissioners Waud and Holman in opposition.    ANC6B’s Alcohol Beverage Control Committee Chair Chander Jayraman told the ANC on December 17, this is a high profile, precedent-setting case involving the first retail sports betting establishment in the city.  He said that the neighbors and the ANC had not been able reach agreement with the owners regarding neighbors’ concerns in mediation required by ABRA,  and the matter will go forward to the protest hearing.  He outlined three possible outcomes: 

  • ABRA could deny the liquor license
  • ABRA could approve the liquor license
  • ABRA could approve the liquor license with operating conditions

When the city council approved sports betting for the city, it did not put any restrictions on where they could be located.  Maybe they didn’t anticipate they would open on commercial strips adjacent to residential areas, and maybe they did, but didn’t care. 

Last Thursday night, the ANC authorized up to $14,000 for attorney fees for the protest hearing on Handle 19, pending an agreement between other protestants clearly delineating the decision making hierarchy.  That motion passed 7 – 0 – 0. 


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8 responses to “ANC6B Lawyers-Up to Protest Liquor License for Sports Betting on Pennsylvania Ave SE

  1. Joey Joe Joe

    That building has been a bar for decades. There is absolutley no legitimate reason their liquor license should be denied. If someone bought around the corner from Poli Tiki, that’s their issue. They chose to live next to a bunch of bars.

  2. Brian Williams

    Want good odds on having a safe and pleasant neighborhood? Don’t open an all hours sports bar in a residential neighborhood. You can have gambling or you can serve alcohol – you can’t do both a block a way from a school.

  3. Pingback: Capitol Hill neighborhood escalates fight against sportsbook – f-fr

  4. Christine

    Gambling addiction is real! I am so disappointed the City approved these kinds of establishments, and on Capitol Hill no less?! Sad drive for $$ over public health.

  5. Pingback: Capitol Hill neighborhood escalates fight against sportsbook | WTOP – THE USA EXPRESS

  6. r

    wow, in a year when so many are struggling, spending $14,000 of a limited local budget on fighting a legal business from operating. Just astonishing.

  7. John

    Instead of adding more gambling establishments, we could just raise taxes on people who failed the math classes in high school. The end result will be the same.

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