In December 2018, DC council members voted to pass Bill 22-944, the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act, legalizing sports betting in Washington DC. The Act was signed into law in January 2019 by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and officially became law in May 2019. Unfortunately, due to several factors, especially the Covid-19 pandemic, live betting was delayed until the summer of 2020.
In May of 2020, the district lottery announced the launch of GambetDC, with its app accepting bets as early as June. Since then, Caesars sportsbook and BetMGM also launched mobile betting apps that fans can use to place sports bets online. However, due to the strict and unique DC laws, other operators must have a physical hub apart from the state-sponsored operator, GambetDC.
The BetMGM app and Caesars sportsbook app are available only within a two-block radius of Nationals Park and Capital One Arena. The Caesars retail location opened at Capital One Arena in May 2021, while BetMGM opened a permanent retail sportsbook at Nationals Park in February 2022, adding to the growing commercial options for DC sports betting.
DC Sports betting is now fully legal and available online and in retail settings, but it is heavily restricted and controlled by the DC lottery. Although DC law allows for five sportsbooks to get a piece of the action, only three operators are active in the district – GambetDC, BetMGM, and Caesars sportsbooks. However, it is only a matter of time before FanDuel launches as they already have their sportsbook license approved and construction of their physical hub ongoing at Audi Field.
Here, we provide a complete guide to sports betting in Washington DC. We will attempt to answer all your questions and concerns regarding DC sports betting laws, the best legal sportsbook operators, available betting platforms and markets, and many more. Let's dive in.
In May 2019, the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 officially became law, legalizing online and retail sports betting in Washington DC. This Act was a success as legalizing sports wagering in the capital set a precedent for other parts of the country. The rollout was also a huge hit.
According to district law, there can only be a maximum of five sportsbooks in the city. There are currently three online and three retail sportsbooks active in the district, with a fourth soon to launch. GambetDC was the first legal sportsbook and the only app available throughout the district. The other two DC sportsbooks are BetMGM and Caesars sportsbooks.
Both are top brands in the sports betting space nationwide but are restricted to areas around their physical locations – Capital One Arena for Caesars and Nationals Park for BetMGM. In addition, FanDuel already has a partnership with DC United at Audi Field and will soon begin operations in the district. Generally, individuals can only use up to two betting apps at any one time in the city.
DC sports betting law grants four major sports venues eligibility to partner with betting operators within their Entertainment Sports Gambling Restriction Zones. They include Audi Field, Capital One Arena, Nationals Park, and St. Elizabeth's East Entertainment and Sports Arena. The law also restricts players from betting on local college teams or collegiate sporting events occurring within the city limits. The law also places the minimum age to bet at 18 years.
As long as you are at least 18 years old, it is 100% legal to utilize sports betting platforms in DC. Additionally, online sportsbooks that are legal and licensed are also available to offer their products and services to bettors within the district.
The governing body over all licensed online gambling activities in the District of Columbia is the Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG). The Office was designated by the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 to regulate and operate sports wagering activities in the district.
The OLG oversees the licensing process for privately-operated sports betting in DC. It also monitors and ensures the operational compliance of companies with applicable district laws. The OLG receives license application fees from private operators and a 10% tax on monthly gross revenues.
Through the DC Lottery, the Office is also in charge of sports betting conducted on GambetDC – the state-sponsored sportsbook. In addition, the platform offers a district-wide mobile app and retail kiosks placed at four restaurants around DC.
GambetDC is the only state-owned sportsbook and the only platform available citywide. Owned and operated by the district lottery, the sportsbook has a monopoly on the online betting market in Washington DC. However, the app has been the subject of much criticism and complaint since it launched, especially after the Superbowl iOS outage.
The DC lottery's technology provider, Intralot, is responsible for the app's operations, and their performance so far has left much to be desired. The app has failed to meet the profit expectations set by the City Council ever since its launch. Moreover, compared to the other less-accessible platforms, the GambetDC app still falls behind, owing to its poor betting lines and higher vig.
Although the GambetDC app does not offer as many incentives for fans as other apps, it still comes with several decent features. For example, new users receive a welcome offer to kickstart their gambling voyage. In addition, the GambetDC app is the only sportsbook app that can be accessed almost anywhere in Washington DC via iOS, Android, or Web browser.
Key features include parlay boosters and separate pre-game and in-game betting sections. It also has a geofencing feature to confirm that users are betting within DC or outside restricted areas in DC, such as all federal enclaves like the Lincoln Memorial or within two blocks of major stadiums like National Parks.
With the GambetDC app, you can place bets online on major league sports and various professional and college sporting activities such as basketball, football, baseball, soccer, tennis, cycling, darts, etc. However, betting on local college teams is restricted by the law. Some easy bets available include proposition bets, parlays, single-game bets, teaser bets, straight bets, etc. As long as players are over 18 and present with an internet-connected device within the district, the GambetDC app is available to place sports bets.
Caesars sportsbook is one of the top brands in the sports betting space in the US. The sportsbook is privately owned and partners with the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals of Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE) and Capital One Arena in DC. With its retail location at Capital One Arena and a solid mobile app available only within two blocks of the arena, Caesars offers a top-class experience for bettors in the District of Columbia.
Caesars sportsbook has an excellent user experience on iOS, Android, and Web platforms with a comprehensive and exciting rewards system. In addition, it has a large welcome bonus for new users with first bet insurance. With other features like profit boosts and special prop bets, Caesars sportsbook provides users with quality offers to keep them hooked and excited. Users can earn bet credits towards sports tickets, bonuses, VIP experiences, and more with every qualifying bet.
Caesars sportsbook offers an impressive selection of in-play betting markets and boosted odds for various sports. In addition, the platform supports live betting and quality live streaming for a select number of sports and events. Payment channels employed for deposit and withdrawal include credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, Skrill, and PayPal. Caesars is a competent platform worth giving a try.
BetMGM partners with Washington Nationals to offer punters one of the best online betting experiences available in the nation's capital. The sportsbook's home base is located in National Park, where its retail book launched in the first quarter of 2022. So if you're looking for a unique bettor-friendly platform, BetMGM has got you covered.
App users can enjoy a top-tier user experience on iOS and Android devices within a two-block radius of National Parks. With its intuitive and elegant design, the platform allows you to conveniently choose from an extensive list of bets on almost any sport.
Newbies at BetMGM DC get started with a risk-free bet. Straight bets, money lines, futures bets, parlay bets, and prop bets are popular bet types available for users to explore. The operator also offers a lot of flexibility with open bets allowing users to change the bet amount, swap portions of the bet, or even cancel part of the bet.
With an impressive selection of offers, promos, bonuses, and betting markets, BetMGM offers players above 18 years the opportunity to take advantage of some of the highest win potentials in a wide variety of sports. Users can also quickly contact customer support 24/7 via live chat or access FAQs on the website.
FanDuel is a first-class sportsbook coming soon to DC bettors. With sports betting legal in DC, the betting operator is set to launch in the district. The DFS pioneer already has its sportsbook license approved by the DC lottery and has confirmed a partnership with DC United.
With construction underway at Audi Field - home to the soccer club DC United, DC bettors are certain to enjoy the betting experience on a whole new level. The app will also be available within a two-block radius of the retail location.
FanDuel features one of the most intuitive and user-friendly navigation experiences and impressive betting market coverage with sports such as NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, Tour, and MMA. With a wide array of favorable bet types, odds boosts, sports markets, and promotions, FanDuel will make a huge splash in the DC sports betting space.
New members will be offered a generous welcome bonus with a risk-free bet. This is a great offer to punters within the district. Players can also live-stream specific games to keep tabs on open bets. In emergencies, users can reach out to customer support via live chat or email.
With sports betting now fully legal in Washington DC, you do not need to risk your stakes on illegal offshore sites. While it is easy to be lured by the enticing free bet bonuses offered by these sites, it is also just as easy for them to run off with your money. In addition, these operators usually have no track record of results and do not invest much in the security of their users' personal and financial information.
On the other hand, legal and licensed sportsbook sites are your best shot to protect your stakes. They undergo rigorous processing to obtain license and approval and are bound to comply with the law. They are also regulated by the Office of Lottery and Gaming in DC. Legal operators offer unique gambling spaces with excellent bonuses and promos. Your details are also safe as legal sportsbooks prioritize and invest in customer security.
Our compilation of sportsbooks is based on well-researched information by our team. Below are the key factors and criteria we consider when selecting the best sportsbooks in DC:
Before including a sportsbook in our list, we ensure the sportsbook is legal and licensed to operate in DC. This is because of the risks and consequences of illegal and unlicensed operators. The Office of Lottery and Gaming is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the district laws, and every sportsbook we consider is regulated and licensed by the Office.
Another factor we consider is the accessibility of the platform via iOS, Android, and Desktop devices. The user experience of the platforms dictates the convenience and ease of use for bettors. We evaluate the interface and experience when rating the sportsbooks.
Sportsbooks generally provide several payment options for deposit and withdrawal. To rate the sportsbooks, we evaluate the availability, safety, security, and efficiency of the payment channels available on each platform. Popular payment methods include debit cards, credit cards, PayPal, Online banking, and Skrill Wallet.
Platforms with generous sign-up bonuses and referral bonuses are more attractive to betting newbies. Sportsbooks also feature several ongoing promos and incentives to keep regular users active. We review the bonuses and promos to rate the sportsbooks.
More and more sportsbooks are updating their platforms to support live streaming and live betting - an innovative technology that allows bettors to follow sporting events live and place real-time bets. As a result, sportsbooks with this feature receive a higher rating for innovation and versatility.
Legal sportsbooks generally employ several means to provide customer support for their users. These include FAQs on their websites to answer general questions, phone numbers, and email or live chat options to help users contact the operator in case of trouble. The best option is the live chat, it is open 24/7. Customer support is a strong criterion for selecting the best betting sites in DC.