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A deeper dive into Nationals Park and BetMGM

A Washington Nationals and BetMGM partnership might make the ballpark experience different than in the past...

The past year has been a boon for sports gambling. Over the course of 2020, many states — with more to come — opted to allow online betting, meaning any fan 21 or older could bet on a number of sports and games from the comfort of their couches in basketball shorts and a T-shirt.

Add to the list of potential betting locations Nationals Park. Earlier in the week, the Washington Nationals announced a partnership with BetMGM, a name you’ve probably heard surrounding the lure of Las Vegas. It’s also the sponsor of the commercials you’ve probably seen where Jamie Foxx is telling you about all the money you could make (but probably won’t).

As Foxx walks across the water at the Fountains of Bellagio, urging you to “put skin in the game” — a notion Nassim Taleb speaks emphatically about in his aptly named book, Skin in the Game — it’s hard to resist the temptation. After all, games are more interesting with monetary investment. Now Nats fans — and those just passing through — will have that option when attending games, or via mobile device for those who are within a two block radius of the stadium, as reported by The Washington Post.

All the pomp and circumstance surrounding sports betting will also be present at Nats Park, according to the same Post article, including windows for in-person betting, as well as kiosks; food and drinks will be involved, as well. Occupying the corner of N Street and Half Street SE, the location itself won’t be accessible from inside the stadium — similar to the Chicago Cubs deal with DraftKings — but fans will be able to place wagers via the mobile app while attending a game.

A quick glance at the comments under The Washington Post article seem to suggest that many fans aren’t thrilled with the idea, with many alluding to Pete Rose or the Black Sox Scandal of 1919; others simply feel disheartened for the “gullible” individuals who’ll ultimately part with their money. Whether this is a case of small sample size or a greater contingency actually feels this way, time will tell. If other locations’ rollouts of sports betting are any indication, this development will surely draw attention — and money. This is particularly true given DC’s propensity to attract tourists, many of whom might be intrigued by the idea of placing a wager while in the vicinity of a Nats’ game.