Jim Van Stone of Monumental Sports talks with Robert Mims about the Capital One Arena Sportsbook, more
Two weeks ago, I experienced the model for all arenas and stadiums that plan to offer sports betting on their premises. I am talking about MSE in the Capital One Arena in Washington DC. I enjoyed the District on Saturday as some of the things to do within a 5-block radius of the Arena include checking out the Martin Luther King Library, Ford's Theatre, and the Smithsonian Institute. The restaurants are top notch, and I would have breakfast at the Lincoln Waffle Shop every morning if I lived in DC. So, what sets the sports betting apart from their competitors in the region is there is more to do than just bet on the games. The international feel of the city lends itself well to any traveler or tourist with a family.
I was able to speak with Jim Van Stone, the President of Business Operations and Chief Commercial Officer for Monumental Sports and Entertainment. I met Jim about 4 years ago at Temple University during their executive leadership and lecture series. We were in contact at the 2021 G2E and I said that I would like to interview him or check out the William Hill Sportsbook in the Capital One Arena. Jim suggested not only that we do both but to be his guest at a game. I always like watching Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz play, so it was an easy choice for me. This was also my first time watching All-Star Guard Bradley Beal in person. Prior to the game, Jim took me on a tour of the sports book and answered the following questions.
Mims: Tell the readers about the strategy to introduce the fans of the Wizards and the Capitals to Sports Betting?
JVS: We decided to have telecasts of the games with that were centric to sports betting. We were the first to have a broadcast where the viewers could choose between a traditional feed and one with sports wagering information. This created interest and prepared the fans for the experience of sports betting in the District.
Mims: There were many qualified sports betting operators that wanted to partner with MSE. What made William Hill the right choice?
JVS: We did our homework and became familiar with the sports betting landscape before making a decision. We made investments in DraftKings and Sportradar. We eventually narrowed down to a group of seven finalists. We did an RFP or Request for Proposal with that group. We chose William Hill because we felt they were aligned with our core values. Caesars was a close second. So, we were pleased when they acquired William Hill. The lease is for 10 years.
Mims: What is foot traffic like in the Sportsbook on the day of a game?
JVS: We have people arriving 1-2 hours before the start of the game. They also stay afterward to enjoy the sports book and to wager on games that are starting later the West Coast. They have the capability to download the app to use on their phone or tablet. The app is functional within a two-block radius of the Capital One Arena.
Mims: What has changed because of the addition of Sports Betting?
JVS: Washington DC is an international city. The implementation of Sports wagering means we can now do more events and cater to a wider range of people. We currently have 230 events annually in the Capital One Arena. That number will increase. We have private banquet space in the book to accommodate corporate groups and parties. We have a renowned local chef, Nick Stefanelli, who developed a menu for the betting facility. We are in Chinatown so there are dining alternatives if you decide you want to download the app with a Q/R code.
Mims: What was the best day since Sports Betting started?
JVS: May 29th when the Wizards played the Sixers in the first round of NBA playoffs, game three. On that same date was the Champions League Soccer match.
Mims: If a fan purchases a ticket to an event in Capital One Arena, what can they expect?
JVS: A venue with 5G capability, an immersive LED experience, the ability to order food online and wager on kiosks in our state-of-the-art sportsbook. We have a broadcast from the sportsbook called "By the Book" that is also on Twitter. This has allowed us to create fan engagement and make this a seamless customer service experience in every way possible for the guest.”
Mims: What are your thoughts about the future of sports betting?
JVS: There are going to be numerous opportunities to be part of the industry. It is growing so there is a need to develop and educate new talent. Sports betting and Esports are emerging as areas that colleges and universities should consider in their curriculums.