Washington, D.C. officially has legalized sports betting, but launched with a lottery style that was roundly criticized and avoided by DC sports bettors.
After passing a bill to legalize sports betting in early 2019, and signing it into law shortly after, DC took almost a year to get their sports-betting infrastructure in place. Similar to how things run in Montana, DC will have their platform, called GambetDC, be powered by Intralot, who is also the supplier to the DC Lottery.
But complaints about the terrible odds, which kept bettors away.
GambetDC is offered districtwide, via mobile apps and select retail kiosks. Things get confusing, however, when you factor in that there are also two types of licenses available:
1) Class A licenses (Maximum four): For sports arenas in DC, the license would allow them to have their own mobile sportsbook, and GambetDC would not be available within a two-mile radius of these stadiums.
2) Class B licenses (unlimited): For any company that wishes to offer sports betting, as long as their business is not entirely based off sports betting.
DC is putting a heavy emphasis on the use of technology for their sports betting law, but until sports resumes operations as normal, it’s hard to tell how well things will work out.
In the meantime, William Hill has already successfully intruded upon Intralot’s perceived monopoly by opening a temporary sportsbook in July at the Capital One Arena, home to the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards.
Is sports betting legal in Washington DC?
Yes. The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 was written into law in early 2019. Legalized sports betting launched in mid-2020, delayed by the global coronavirus pandemic which shuttered most sports leagues. Controversy around Intralot and its game odds and payouts severely hampered the launch with pitiful handle numbers reported.
Where can I bet at Washington DC sportsbooks?
There are no casinos in DC, so the main platform for bets is GambetDC, which is offered district-wide via a mobile app and select retail kiosks. GambetDC is not available, however, on federally owned land and within a two-mile radius of Class A license holders.
As far as Class A licensees, the only confirmed location right now is Capital One Arena, which will operate a sportsbook in conjunction with William Hill.
There are also Class B licenses available, of which there is no limit, which generally supports bars and restaurants that want to offer sports betting as well. Grand Central Restaurant, along with Handle19, were some of the first venues to apply for this license and are partnered with Newgioco to operate their own sportsbooks.
DFS is also safe to play in DC, with DraftKings, FanDuel and all other major operators available.
What about mobile sports betting apps in Washington DC?
With no casinos in DC, mobile apps are paramount to the success of sports betting. GambetDC is predominantly a mobile platform, save for some select retail kiosks, while all Class A and Class B licensees will also be permitted to offer mobile apps for their independent sportsbooks.