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Gambling in Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia has always existed as an interesting area when it comes to laws in America. With new legislation being passed 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 the people who live here.

The District of Columbia has always existed as an interesting area when it comes to laws in America. With new legislation being passed 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 the people who live here.

Available in this state

Online Sports Betting 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. Signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser on January 23, 2019, this would legalize sports betting in the District.

D.C. Sports Betting lawmakers have chosen to follow a similar structure to the nearby state of Delaware for the infrastructure of their new sportsbooks. In Washington D.C. Online gambling will be available through a platform powered by Intralot, the company behind the Lottery. 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 sports betting will be launched 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. This is hoped to include mobile sports betting, which will require some complex geofencing to help this restriction.

Class B licenses will not include a two-block buffer zone and can be issued 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, and the next step is to acquire these licenses from Intralot.

With a law allowing sports gambling in Washington D.C. when will we see sportsbooks begin to 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.

Online Casinos 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 D.C. Council did approve online casinos but then repealed this decision less than a year later. There have been no moves to reintroduce laws that would allow an online casino. 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 D.C. casinos anytime soon, players might be tempted to head unregulated online casinos. It is recommended that playing at these sites should be avoided as doing 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 Washington D.C., you will be able to follow its progress on this page.

Online Poker 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 within the district’s borders. Sadly, the legislation was repealed in 2012 and since then any attempts of legalizing poker in Washington D.C. haven’t gained any traction.

Many unregulated sites offer residents of Washington D.C. online poker play. Due to the lack of approval by the local government, it’s highly recommended that partaking in these kinds of services be avoided. 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.

Should a new bill be introduced that legalizes online poker in Washington D.C. you will be able to find updates on this page.

Daily Fantasy 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 DFS a bit of a grey area. As with online casinos or poker, it is recommended that using the services of DFS providers is avoided until official legislation is passed approving such activities. While these sites might operate legitimately in other states, without the official approval of the local government secure and safe play cannot be guaranteed.  

With the new sports betting laws in Washington D.C., legal fantasy sports might be around the corner. Until then, Washington D.C. Fantasy sports participation should be avoided.

You will be able to find out more about any formal regulations on this page if they are introduced.

Online Lottery Washington D.C.

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

Tickets for the D.C. Lottery can be bought from retailers around the District. You can check the Washington D.C. lottery results at several sources including the official website, or on the Lottery’s social media pages.

Other Important Gambling Facts Washington D.C.

The revenue from the Lottery goes to the District’s General Fund. Since 1982, more than $2.14 billion has been given to this fund. This benefits more than just the people who live within the borders of the District, as it is also used to benefit those who commute in from surrounding states and the many tourists who visit each year. The General Fund is used to support services like education, parks and recreation, and housing. In 2019 $45,000 was transferred to 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 revenue from all sportsbooks will be taxed at 10%. The revenue earned from this tax is also likely to go to the General Fund.

Gambling Washington D.C. Conclusion

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


Sports betting has been legalized but not launched in Washington D.C. Online gambling at casinos and pokers sites are restricted.

You can play the D.C. Lottery by purchasing tickets from one of the retailers or cabinets around the District. Once the draw has happened, you can check to see if you have won at a retailer, on the official app, or at 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. D.C. 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 sports betting has been fully launched in the District, 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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