Updated on August 10, 2020
Sports betting in Washington D.C. is finally here! 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.
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.
Washington D.C. Sportsbooks
The first land-based Washington D.C. sportsbook to launch was actually located within Capital One Arena. William Hill sports betting kiosks and sportsbook writers began taking in bets at the arena box office in August of 2020.
Capital One Arena is even able to offer these kiosks when there are no home games.
Other venues are expected to launch in the near future including Hangar-19 which applied for a sports betting license.
Online Sports Betting Apps In Washington D.C.
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 Gamebet DC from their mobile browser.
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 its rocky track for other reasons.
Washington D.C. Sports Betting FAQs
Who Regulates Sports Betting In Washington D.C.?
Not only is 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.
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.
Can Maryland Or Virginia Residents Use Washington D.C. Sportsbooks?
Yes, as long as they are inside the borders of the district itself. As soon as they go back to their home state then they will not be able to put real money down on the D.C. sports betting app.
What is the legal age to bet on sports in Washington D.C.?
The legal age for sports betting in DC is 18. That is the age for both online and land-based sportsbooks.