Washington, D.C. online sports betting laws
You’d think everybody in Washington, D.C. would be too busy running the country to worry about sport. But sports betting is now legal in Capitol City and, with a franchise in all the big four sports leagues, there’s plenty to whet our appetites.
Written by OnlineBetting.com staff.
Administrative law and government relations attorney
Jennifer has a degree in Journalism from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C, in 2005. She's been living in Las Vegas helping clients in the casino and gaming industry, as well as other regulated businesses, across Nevada for over 15 years.
She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books on US gaming law, including most recently, The Law of Regulated Gambling: A Practical Guide for Business Lawyers , American Bar Association (2020), and That (Expletive) Broad: Women Who Broke Barriers in the Casino and Gaming Industry (2020) .
Is sports betting legal in Washington, D.C.?
Yes, Washington, D.C. sports betting is now legal and the market is growing steadily.
Is online sports betting legal in Washington, D.C.?
Yes, Washington, D.C. online sports betting is legal, although for various reasons it has got off to a slow start.
How old do I have to be to place a bet in Washington, D.C.?
If you want to place a sports bet in Washington, D.C., you need to be at least 18 years old.
How do I start betting in Washington, D.C.?
You can place a wager at (or within a two-block radius of) Capital One Arena or Nationals Park, or go online with the only licensed district-wide app, GambetDC. You may register online to use GambetDC – simply go to the website and register there.
Validate the email that should be sent to you automatically.
To verify your account, you’ll need to supply a form of ID.
Top up the balance of your account and you’re good to go.
Is sports betting legal in Washington, D.C.?
Who is allowed to bet on sports in Washington, D.C.?
What can’t I bet on in Washington, D.C.?
Daily Fantasy Sports in Washington, D.C.
No official law has ever been passed regarding Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in Washington, D.C. Nevertheless, the activity has been carried on for many years without any legal action taken against DFS operators in the District.
DraftKings and FanDuel, the big two names in DFS, are among the operators offering a regular diet of games to sports fans in the district.
The popularity of the football, basketball, baseball, and hockey teams based in DC means there is always a healthy appetite for DFS games around those sports.
The exploits of some top college teams here, such as the Georgetown University Hoyas basketball team, also keep interest high in the district.
Top sports to bet on in Washington, D.C.
Although the District comprises only a small geographic area, sports fans in Washington, D.C. have an enviable choice of teams to follow, both in the big four sports and in college programs too.
The Washington football team may have changed its name from the Redskins, but one thing that hasn't changed is the massive support the side gets from locals. With three Super Bowls in the locker, this is a respected team in the NFL world. The presence of some top college sides in the area adds to the enduring popularity of football as a spectator sport and a betting proposition.
Responsible gambling in Washington, D.C.
It’s essential that any state allowing sports betting takes the cause of responsible gambling very seriously.
While sports betting is a leisure activity for most people, to a small minority it can bring issues relating to financial and emotional problems.
Washington, D.C. betting providers and administrators have put a raft of resources in place to ensure gambling in the district is carried out as responsibly as possible.
William Hill : The first provider of retail betting services in the district offers plenty of advice to ensure those who bet with the company do so responsibly.
DC government’s Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) : The body with overall responsibility for all forms of gambling in the district sets out the framework for supporting resources that should be made available to people in the area.
DC Lottery : The organization that runs sports betting in the district offers a host of helpful materials for anyone concerned about their gambling.
National Council on Problem Gambling : The national body charged with making betting as responsible as possible offers services in the area and links to local and federal bodies.
Timeline of sports betting in Washington, D.C.
Encouraged by the example of Oregon’s Sports Action game, there are moves to launch a similar product in DC. They do not get off the ground.
2018 - May
PASPA is struck down.
2018 - September
A bill is introduced to legalize Washington, D.C. sports betting.
2018 - December
The bill passes.
2019 - May
The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act becomes law.
2019 - October
William Hill announces its intention to open a retail sportsbook at the Capital One Arena.
2020 - May
The state lottery’s GambetDC app begins accepting sports bets.
2020 - July
William Hill’s temporary retail sportsbook at the Capital One Arena opens for business.
2020 - December
William Hill’s mobile app (which is available for wagering only within a 2-block radius of the Captial One Arena) launches.
Where can you bet in Washington, D.C.?
There are only two retail sportsbooks currently in operation: William Hill at the Capital One Arena and BetMGM at Nationals Park, but it is anticipated that more will join the list in 2021 and beyond. There are at least two Class B Operator licenses pending (these locations would be bars, hotels, or restaurants), and Betfair has recently submitted a Class A Operator license as well.
|Location||Retail Sportsbook Partner||Address|
|Capital One Arena||William Hill||601 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20004|
|Nationals Park||BetMGM||1500 S Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003|