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Legal Gambling in Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia has always been a unique area when it comes to laws in America. With the government passing new legislation to allow gambling in Washington D.C., casinos and sportsbooks will hopefully soon be available for its residents. Though it may not be as big as surrounding states, there are still some brilliant plans to bring safe and legal forms of gambling to those who live here.

The District of Columbia has always been a unique area when it comes to laws in America. With the government passing new legislation to allow gambling in Washington D.C., casinos and sportsbooks will hopefully soon be available for its residents. Though it may not be as big as surrounding states, there are still some brilliant plans to bring safe and legal forms of gambling to those who live here.

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Legal Online Sports Betting in Washington D.C.

In Washington D.C., sports betting is on its way. In December of 2018, the city’s council approved D.C. Act 22-594. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed it into law on January 23, 2019, which legalized sports betting in the District.

Lawmakers in D.C. have chosen to follow a similar structure for sports betting to the nearby state of Delaware for the infrastructure of their new sportsbooks. In Washington D.C., the company behind the lottery – Intralot, will power a platform for online gambling. Anyone over the age of 18 will be able to place bets.

The District will be the first place not to have a casino that can host sports betting. Washington D.C. does not have any commercial casinos, so it will launch sports betting from other retail locations. Lawmakers have instead introduced two types of licenses.

Class A licenses will be for sportsbooks located in the four major sporting arenas of the District. Each of these venues will have a two-block buffer zone in place to prevent competing sportsbooks from opening. They hope that this includes sports betting, which will require some complex geofencing technology to help this restriction.

Class B licenses will not include a two-block buffer zone and the District will issue them to hotels, bars, and restaurants. 25 bars and restaurants around the city have so far received approval from the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration to host sports betting, with the next step being to acquire these licenses from Intralot.

With a law allowing sports gambling in Washington D.C., when will we begin to see sportsbooks open? The prediction is for the start of the Washington Nationals’ season in late March. You will be able to follow any updates and find a great place to start placing bets on this page once sports betting is fully live in D.C.

Legal Gambling at Online Casinos in Washington D.C.

In Washington D.C., online gambling at internet casinos has been a much-debated issue for several years. Since the city has no casinos of its own, players must head into Maryland to play at one of the venues there. In 2011, the District Council approved online casinos but then repealed this decision less than a year later. There have since been no moves to reintroduce laws that would allow online casinos. Washington D.C. has limited space and it would be difficult to build a casino complex there.

Since it is unlikely that we will see casinos in D.C. anytime soon, players might want to head to unregulated online casinos. The District recommends avoiding play at these sites, as doing so could result in potential loss of personal information or funds.

If the lawmakers in D.C. do decide to introduce a new bill to cover online gambling in the capital city, you will be able to follow its progress on this page.

Is Online Poker Available in Washington D.C.?

Unfortunately for players looking to enjoy legal online poker in Washington D.C., there are currently no options. In 2010, lawmakers in D.C. put forward a motion to regulate online poker, but they repealed it in 2012 and since then any attempts of legalizing poker in the District haven’t gained any traction.

Many unregulated sites offer residents of Washington D.C. online poker play. Due to the lack of approval, the local government highly recommends avoiding these kinds of services. Not only might this get you in trouble with the law, but there’s no guarantee that these sites will pay out winnings or keep your personal information secure.

If Washington D.C. introduces a new bill that legalizes online poker in the District, you will be able to find updates on this page.

Where to Play Daily Fantasy Sports in Washington D.C.

In Washington D.C., daily fantasy sports have been available for several years. Major operators like FanDuel and DraftKings offer their products to players. In D.C., fantasy sports games are available for several popular sports through these providers.

Since no laws prohibit or allow daily fantasy sports in the District, it makes participating in them a bit of a gray area. As with online casinos or poker, the local government recommends avoiding using the services of DFS providers until they pass official legislation approving such activities. While these sites might operate legitimately in other states, without the official approval of the local government, they cannot guarantee secure and safe play.

With the new sports betting laws in Washington D.C., legal fantasy sports might be around the corner. Until then, players should avoid participating in fantasy sports in the District.

You will be able to find out more about any formal regulations on this page if the local government introduces them.

How to Play the Lottery in Washington D.C.

The Washington D.C. Lottery has been operating since 1982. Players must be 18+ to purchase tickets for these games, and can participate in several in-house draws that play daily. They can also buy scratch cards and take part in draws across several states, including Lucky for Life, Mega Millions, and Powerball.

Players can buy tickets for the lottery from retailers around the District, and can check their numbers on the official website or the lottery’s social media pages.

Other Important Information About Gambling in Washington D.C.

The revenue from the Lottery goes to the District’s General Fund. It has given more than $2.14 billion to this fund since 1982. This benefits more than just the people who live within the borders of the District, as they also use it to benefit those who commute in from surrounding states and the many tourists who visit each year. The General Fund goes to support services like education, parks and recreation, and housing. In 2019, the lottery raised nearly $40 million for the General Fund.

Class A sports betting licenses will cost $250,000 while Class B licenses will cost $50,000. Both licenses will cover five years and the local government will tax revenue from all sportsbooks at 10%. The revenue earned from this tax is also likely to go to the General Fund.

The Future of Gambling in Washington D.C.

Though Washington D.C. restricts online gambling laws, things are starting to change. The launch of legal sports betting will be a test of how gambling in the District will progress. If successful, it might prompt lawmakers to re-examine their ban on other forms of online gambling. If there are any updates to the gambling laws in D.C., you’ll find them here on this page.


Washington D.C. has legalized but not launched sports betting. It also restricts online gambling at casinos and pokers sites.

You can play the lottery by purchasing tickets from one of the retailers or cabinets around D.C. Once the draw has happened, you can check to see if you have won at a retailer, on the official app, or on the lottery’s website or social media.

You will be able to bet on sports in D.C. very soon. Sports betting is legal, but no online sites or brick-and-mortar locations have launched yet. The District’s residents should be able to start placing sports bets by the end of March 2020.

DraftKings currently offer their daily fantasy sports games in Washington D.C., although no laws prohibit or allow DFS. Once the District has fully launched sports betting, we will probably see DraftKings apply for a license so they can also offer their sportsbook products.


Jennifer Marsh

Jennifer is constantly on the lookout for the latest updates on US gambling legislation. She has a soft spot for blackjack and poker, but spends a lot of time writing about other facets of the online gambling world as well.

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