Washington DC sports betting officially launched in May 2020 after legalizing the industry in late 2018.
It would make sense that Our Nation’s Capital offers legal sports betting since the entire country has seen massive growth since 2018.
The Washington DC sports betting industry has taken a different approach in its operation than other states around the US. While online sports betting in Washington DC is available, retail betting at land-based sportsbooks has become a much bigger part of the monthly handle.
The online betting action is limited to the mobile app run by the DC Lottery. This is known as Gambet DC and it is powered by INTRALOT.
What makes this market unique is legal sports betting at professional sports arenas and stadiums along with a two-block radius of its physical location.
While Washington DC offers a limited number of online sports betting options, the district will also offer retail sports betting during the NBA‘s Washington Wizards or the NHL’s Washington Capitals’ games at Capital One Arena as well as at Washington Nationals’ MLB games at Nationals Park.
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Washington DC Sportsbooks
Washington DC sports betting has the potential to expand to multiple retail sportsbooks given the current laws. As professional sports arenas begin to apply for a sports betting license, and they can partner with a sports betting operator.
William Hill first opened a temporary sportsbook in Capital One Arena with both retail and online sports betting available at that location. Now owned by Caesars Entertainment, the company has entered into a long-term agreement with Monumental Sports & Entertainment as the owner of this venue.
BetMGM formed a strategic partnership with Nationals Park as the home of MLB’s Washington Nationals. Legal retail and online sports betting is now available in a stand-alone sportsbook in the stadium and within a two-block radius through the BetMGM mobile sportsbook app.
The Washington DC lottery still turns to INTRALOT to run the official sports betting app. GambetDC is the official DC online sports betting option, and customers are able to sign up for a new account remotely.
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DC Sports Betting Rules
The DC sports betting rules are pretty wide open, and it gives sportsbooks in that area plenty of freedom. Most people don’t think of sports when they think of Washington DC, but the area is home to several popular professional sports teams.
Betting on professional, international, and collegiate sporting events are offered in Washington DC sports betting. There is currently no restriction on collegiate sports betting as there is in some other US sports betting markets.
There is no law prohibiting betting on esports events in Washington DC, as a popular alternative to mainstream sports.
DC Sports Betting Regulations
Washington DC actually attempted to legalize sports betting all the way back in 1989, but that attempt was quickly shot down. DC sports betting was looking to follow the example set by Oregon and allow the state lottery to offer some games.
The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 was introduced in September 2018 and it was quickly approved by the City Council. This bill put the DC Lottery in charge of the sports betting industry, and it did not allow for any outside companies to apply for a license.
There have been some changes made to the initial law, but the DC Lottery continues to partner with INTRALOT to help run the DC online sports betting. Companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel made an attempt to challenge the law and push for a license, but their request was denied.
With sports stadiums in Washington DC once again filled with spectators, the DC sports betting industry should start to produce some bigger numbers. These arenas are where a majority of the retail sports betting will take place, and it should help the online sports betting numbers as well.
There is just one online sports betting option at this time, and there have already been a number of issues with the mobile app. This has kept bettors from using that app and instead, searching for retail betting options.
With four major professional sports teams in the DC area, there is a chance for this market to produce a much bigger sports betting handle. The added presence of major players such as Caesars Entertainment and BetMGM is also good for business. Lawmakers in Washington DC will continue to review current rules and regulations to ensure that they are giving the district the best chance to bring in revenue.