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US – Elys and Grand Central land ‘paradigm shifting’ Class B license in Washington, DC

By - 7 September 2021

Sports betting company Elys Game Technology, has teamed up with the Grand Central Restaurant & Bar located in the Adams Morgan area of Washington, D.C., to land a Class B sports betting license that represents a potential paradigm shift for the sports betting market across the US.

Granted by the District of Columbia’s Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG), a Class B Operator license allows a full-service sportsbook with no restrictions on maximum bets to be wagered and where all winnings can be redeemed on-site.

The Grand Central venue will offer sports betting alongside food and beverages providing a unique customer experience and is believed to be the first sportsbook of its kind to be operated within an independently owned business establishment in the US. Elys will provide Grand Central with the turn-key retail betting solution on POS and kiosk hardware as well as managed services to operate the sportsbook, including back-office and business intelligence, odds and event offerings, risk management and trading services, while both Elys and Grand Central will collaborate on customer-engagement campaigns, marketing, and any co-branding ventures. To allow sufficient time for staff training and hardware installation, it is expected that wagering on sports will be offered at Grand Central in or around October 2021 with the on-premise mobile app to be launched in 2022.

“We have been a part of the vibrant Adams Morgan neighborhood since Grand Central opened in 2007,” stated Grand Central owner Brian Vasile. “We are looking forward to offering our customers an extraordinary experience to wager on their favorite teams while enjoying our signature dishes and beverages for lunch, dinner or gathering for team events and special games or even just dropping in to place a wager. We are very honored to have been approved as the first Class B licensed operator by the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming and believe that our establishment will serve as a showcase example for this operational model and a key role in the economic growth of this rooted residential and commercial neighborhood, as well as the greater DC area.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to be granted our first US based sports wagering license and are looking forward to launching our Elys Gameboard US platform at Grand Central Restaurant & Bar, in Washington, DC. We also wish to recognise Brian Vasile, his partners and staff who worked tirelessly with our engineering team housed within our group technology subsidiary, Odissea, and our US operations team to achieve this significant accomplishment,” stated Michele Ciavarella Elys’ Executive Chairman. “For ages, sports events and championship games have been consumed and enjoyed the most in restaurants and bars, and we believe that the unique Class B classification established by the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming will pioneer an entirely new and exciting vertical where sports wagering could elevate the dining and gathering experience at bars and restaurants throughout North America. We also believe that this model could be adopted across multiple states to support local and growing businesses, and that Grand Central can become the quintessential model for operating a sportsbook within a business that is accessible by all fans of sports.”

Mr. Ciavarella continued: “With a low-cost of deployment and high scalability, our leading-edge micro-services technology is perfectly suited to operate sportsbooks in the massive network of small businesses across Canada and the US, and we believe small businesses could be a major contributor to local and regional economic development for years to come. The addition of US Bookmaking is expected to serve a key role in the product offering and bookmaking at Grand Central, as well as the potentially rapid expansion expected by Elys at small businesses across the country.”

Elys is operational in approximately 1,200 venues throughout Italy, in both online and retail channels and is now live in five states with six tribal casinos and a restaurant bar. The Company is planning to process applications to offer sports wagering through its leading-edge betting platform to large and small casinos and independent business venues in the US and Canada representing one of the most exciting long-term growth opportunities for Elys. The provisional Standard Management Services Provider License granted to the Company expires August 26, 2022.

The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 legalized Sports Betting in the District of Columbia and it became law on May 3, 2019. OLG regulates privately-operated sports wagering throughout the District, licensing and monitoring these operations and their gaming-related suppliers for compliance with applicable District and federal laws.

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