- Handle 19, a retail sports betting facility is awaiting its final piece of approval from the DC Lottery to open their sportsbook on Pennsylvania Street in Capitol Hill.
- Residents of the neighborhood are fighting the opening of Handle 19 as they do not want a sports wagering establishment in their community.
- The sportsbook, restaurant, and bar should be opening its doors prior to the end of NFL season, regardless of the protests of the people in the area.
WASHINGTON – Residents of Capitol Hill continue to oppose the opening of a Washington, D.C. sportsbook in their neighborhood as they do not want one in their community.
Handle 19 will be a full-service bar and restaurant, along with being a sportsbook as it has three different levels covering 6000 sq. ft of space. Its location is right on Pennsylvania Street, on a strip of Capitol Hill that is home to multiple pubs and eateries.
The business was originally slated to open its doors in August but the neighborhood came together to delay a launch at every turn because they do not want to have legal sports betting in their neighborhood.
Capitol Hill Vs. Handle 19
Handle 19 has been a project in the works for quite some time. The District legalized wagering on sporting events in December 2018. It’s taken a while for a launch of the industry to take place, finally happening earlier this year.
The DC Lottery regulates the market and is responsible for handing out licenses and Handle 19 is waiting on their final approval so they can debut their Washington D.C. sportsbook.
However, residents in the community continue to fight the impending opening, possibly causing the lottery to drag their feet to officially license Handle 19.
“I don’t think I’ve seen the neighborhood this united on any topic,” said Elizabeth Morin, a resident of Capitol Hill for the past nine years. “I’m not really quite sure why, given the level and quantity of opposition that this establishment faces, why he’s being so stubborn and continuing to try to be in a neighborhood where he’s clearly not welcome.”
To their understanding, the people have researched what allowing a sports betting venue in their area could cause and none of their findings were positive.
They are fighting to stop Handle 19 from opening because they believe it will cause a 25% increase in crime, a decrease in the value of their homes, and take away the already limited amount of parking due to gamblers flooding the establishment.
Despite all of this, Shane August, the President of Handle 19 Incorporated, is excited and not worried in the slightest about being unable to open his business.
Although he hoped to be open at the start of the NFL season for the enthusiastic NFL sports bettors, an opening before season’s end is fine by him. The people of Capitol Hill are currently going about stopping this in a new way by trying to contest the establishment’s liquor license.
“Our strategy is definitely death by 1000 paper cuts,” said Morin. “He was planning on opening in August, you’ll see that it’s November, and he has not opened. He likely will have no chance of opening before January, and so you know every month that goes by is more money out of his pocket.”
The Future For Handle 19
The DC Lottery is in the final stages of August’s application process for licensure. The sports wagering laws of Washington, D.C. do not require that he have a liquor license to open his sportsbook.
He won’t be able to open the sports bar but the sportsbook will be legally cleared to do business with or without a liquor license.
“They don’t fully understand that so they’re using that as leverage but again, we’ve been working with them, we will continue to work with them and hopefully we can achieve some type of settlement,” said August. “I think for the record this needs to be said that we are moving forward, and we’re excited.”
Handle 19 should be opening soon, no matter how much uproar the neighborhood starts against August. The fact of the matter is, the law is on his side in this, and there’s nothing anyone can say or do that can stop him from opening his business.
They may cause delays, as they have, but ultimately the end result will be a D.C. sportsbook in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
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Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.