The Washington NBA and NHL teams are planning to move from their long-time home in the nation’s capital to a new facility in Northern Virginia. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and team owner Ted Leonsis announced plans to build a new arena complex for the Washington Wizards and Capitals in Alexandria, Virginia, just a few miles from their current home in central Washington, D.C., Capital One Arena.
The new arena is set to begin construction in 2025 with the teams expected to relocate by 2028, pending state and local government approvals. However, the D.C. government is still making efforts to convince Leonsis to change his mind. Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which manages the team and arena, hopes to keep Capital One Arena open, hosting the WNBA Washington Mystics, concerts, and events throughout the year.
The announcement raises questions about the future of the Caesars Sportsbook located inside Capital One Arena, the most lucrative of the retail sports betting facilities in the District of Columbia. Bettors wagered nearly $6 million at the Caesars Sportsbook in October, making it the most profitable in the city. Losing its marquee tenants may impact visits to the site, although its convenient location close to D.C.’s central business district should help it maintain some foot traffic.
The proposed Virginia facility is being promoted as a “World-Class Entertainment District” that would include a new arena, corporate headquarters for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, team practice facilities, a performing arts venue, and other developments. The announcement did not mention plans for a sportsbook in the arena, but sports betting is legal in Virginia, so it would not be surprising to see one proposed for the site. Virginia currently does not have a major professional sports franchise, making it the largest U.S. state without one.
It remains to be seen how the move will impact the sports betting industry in the area, with the potential for new opportunities in Virginia and the potential decline of in-person betting at Capital One Arena in D.C. However, any changes to the sports betting landscape will likely be influenced by the evolving relationship between sports and gambling in the U.S.