DC Lottery Denies Handle 19’s Application for Gambling License
by Larry Janezich
Posted February 8, 2021
On January 28, the Office of Lottery and Gaming issued an Executive Director’s Order denying Handle 19’s Sports wagering License. Business owner Shane August applied for the license last May to open a sports book gambling outlet at 319 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.
Once his intention became public, neighbors began organizing to oppose the granting of a liquor license in hopes that a denial would discourage August from opening at the location. The possibility that DC Lottery would deny the license seemed remote. and the conventional wisdom was that August had the right to open the gambling outlet, liquor license license or not. A divided ANC6B weighed in on behalf of the neighbors, voting to protest the liquor license and hired an attorney to represent the ANC at a protest hearing before the Alcohol Beverage Regulatory Administration.
As to why DC Lottery denied the application, the Executive Director’s Order says:
“The Application and supporting documentation were reviewed by the [Office of Lottery and Gaming’s] Regulation and Oversight Division and a due diligence background investigation was conducted on both Handle 19 and its Individual Qualifiers.
Based upon the information contained in the application and the results of the due diligence background investigation, on January 4, 2021, the OLG’s Director of the Regulation and Oversight Division issued a [Recommendation] Memorandum recommending the application be denied…after determining Handle 19 did not meet the requirements for licensure due to investigative findings related (sic) its Individual Qualifiers.
After a review of the Recommendation Memorandum, the Executive Director agrees with and adopts the Recommendation Memorandum in full….”
The Order directed that the Recommendation Memorandum produced by the Regulation and Oversight Division “shall only be sent to Shane August …and not released to the public because [it] contains information that is confidential under D.C. Official Code…”
The order says that if Handle 19 withdraws its application within 15 business days the application status shall be changed from denied to withdrawn. The $100,000 sports wagering application fee is not refundable.
Capitol Hill Corner asked former ANC6B Chair and Alcohol Beverage Committee Chair Chander Jayaraman to comment on the gambling license denial. He said, “I appreciate DC Lottery doing their job investigating applicants and denying applicants who do not meet the standards the city expects.” Though no longer on the Commission, Jayaraman has been heavily involved in the ANC’s protest of Handle 19’s application for a liquor license.
In a related development, on February 3, ABRA granted ANC6B’s motion to delay the protest hearing on Handle’s application for a liquor license until March 31. That issue is separate from the gaming license, and August could continue to pursue a liquor license, though it is unclear whether he desires to limit his business model to a restaurant or whether there is some other avenue to a gaming license approval. ABRA has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday to review the protestant’s January 27 motion to dismiss the protest hearing regarding the liquor license.