Updated on May 28, 2020
The District of Columbia approved a sports wagering bill just before the end of 2018. The new law will allow legal sports betting both online and at specified venues.
The law was approved by Mayor Muriel Bowser on Jan 23, 2019, and after the statutory 60 day review period review by Congress, the bill became law.
However, it took much longer for D.C. residents to be able to bet on sports.
The DC Lottery has majority control over online and mobile betting throughout the District. Their online sportsbook known as Gamebet DC was the first sports betting platform to launch when it did so on May 28, 2020.
There will be a single app that sports bettors can use to lay bets anywhere within the confines of the Washington D.C. borders. The Gamebet DC app is expected to launch within the coming weeks.
Other venues may introduce their own sports betting apps but they may only be used on the premises or within two blocks of the premises. DC has no licensed casinos, so venues will be restricted to kiosks inside licensed bars, restaurants, and sporting stadiums.
Not only will the DC Lottery be the operator, but it will also be the regulator of online sports betting. The DC Lottery and its supplier Intralot are powering the Gamebet DC sportsbook.
Washington D.C. Sports Betting Lawsuit
City council members were taken to court over their decision to award the District’s only sports gambling contract to Intralot. In order to expedite the process to launch a mobile sports betting app in Washington D.C., District officials went with a no-bid selection process.
A resident of the city, who developed a mobile sports betting platform himself, filed a lawsuit claiming that decision was a direct violation of the Home Rule Act.
The case was ultimately dismissed, but it pushed back the launch date for mobile sports betting apps in Washington D.C. to June 2020.
The chief council member that made the push for a no-bid process stepped down in January 2020 and the plaintiff of the case is still pursuing charges. However, the rollout of sports betting in Washington D.C. is still on track.
The legal age for sports betting in DC is 18. That is the age for both online and land-based sportsbooks.
Washington D.C. Sports Betting FAQs
What kind of sports betting apps are there in Washington D.C.?
As of right now, Washington D.C. sports betting apps have not technically launched. The District will more than likely welcome large players in the sports wagering industry like DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill. Those apps will only be available within a two-block radius of sports stadiums or arenas as well as inside a licensed bar or restaurant. The app owned and operated by the D.C. Lottery known as Gamebet DC will be available to anyone within the city that is not in a federal landmark or park. For now, bettors will have to access the site from their mobile browser.
What restrictions are there on online sports betting in Washington D.C.?
As far as restrictions go, you will not have to worry about bans on collegiate betting or in-person registration. However, you will not be able to use Washington D.C. sports betting apps if you are within two blocks of a professional sports stadium or at a federally registered park.
When will Washington D.C. sportsbooks launch?
The first Washington D.C. sportsbook technically already launched online. Gamebet DC is available to anyone 21 years old or older that’s located within the city. Retail sportsbooks in Washington D.C. are expected to launch later. Capital One Arena is in the process of building their sportsbook and Hanger-19 has just recently submitted an application for a sports betting license to host their own sportsbook. The second half of 2020 is when these locations and more are expected to unveil their sportsbooks in Washington D.C.