District Of Columbia Sports Betting

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Sports Betting Legislation Enacted
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Last updated: June 1, 2020

Status: After a bill was passed without Federal intervention, vendors in Washington DC are now just months away from being able to offer legal sports betting.

ETA: With regulation currently being laid out, legal sports betting could be up and running by September 2019. However, mobile wagering could take a little longer.


District of Columbia Sports Betting Timeline

District legislators acted much quicker than expected following the landmark decision by the Supreme Court in May 2018 to strike down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

In December 2019, the DC Council passed a Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act which was signed off by Mayor Muriel Bowser in January. February saw the council approve a bill to fast-track sports betting legislation. This was followed by an announcement in March from Monumental Sports owner Ted Leonsis that a sportsbook will operate inside the Capital One Arena.

The bill will allow sports betting from physical venues such as Capital One Arena, Audi Field, Entertainment and Sports Arena and Nationals Park, and also in the immediate vicinity of the venues. These could be up and running in time for the NFL Season which opens on September 5.

Mobile betting will be available by a smartphone app operated by Intralot, the District’s official lottery vendor. A separate company will be hired to create the app which could take up to six months to develop. As a result, mobile wagering may not be available until 2020.


District of Columbia Betting History

Historically, Washington DC has not been that accommodating to gambling. On-track pari-mutuel horse race betting is technically legal, but with no race tracks currently operating, the law means little and residents must travel to neighboring states to partake in such activities.

The District has no casinos, tribal or otherwise, leaving gamblers with no option but to hop over the border to Maryland to enjoy legal casino-style gaming. However, gambling for charitable purposes has been permitted since 1981. This extends to casino nights, bingo games, raffles and poker tournaments where all proceeds are forwarded to sponsored causes.

The Washington DC lottery was first created in 1982 and has long been the only legal gambling option for residents outside of charitable events. The lottery includes scratch cards and electronic lottery terminals with instant win games. Multi-state lottery games including Mega Millions and PowerBall are also available.

In 2010, proposals to open a council-controlled online casino along with 30 gambling points passed the legislative stage but plans were shelved two years later following a negative reaction.


Is sports betting legal in the District of Columbia?

Yes, sports betting is now legal throughout the District and should be available in time for the NFL season.


Who controls sports betting in the District of Columbia?

Sports betting will be controlled by the District Council and there approved lottery operators.


What is the legal age to bet on sports in the District of Columbia?

There will be a minimum age requirement of 18 for sports betting in DC - the same as the state lottery.


Where can I bet on sports in the District of Columbia?

Sports betting will be allowed inside and within a two-mile radius of licensed venues. Mobile wagering will also be allowed anywhere in the District.


Who are the current operators/licensees in the District of Columbia?

DC lottery will oversee all sports betting activity.


Which operators currently offer legal sports betting in the District of Columbia?

Licenses would be sold by the DC lottery to sportsbooks at selected venues. There is no cap on the number of licenses.


Is mobile and app sports betting available in the District of Columbia?

Mobile sports betting via an application will be made available and will be controlled by the lottery provider.


How much is sports betting worth in the District of Columbia?

It has been estimated that legal sports wagering could generate more than $20m in revenue for the District of Columbia.


What is the tax rate for sports betting in the District of Columbia?

Operators to be charged a 10% tax rate on all revenue.


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