It has been an uphill battle legalizing online gambling in Washington DC since the district approved the online lottery in 2012. Slowly but surely, more options are opening up in DC.
Currently, online sports betting is available in Washington DC with the DC Lottery offering the online sportsbook GambetDC and other operators including BetMGM and Caesars allowed to offer online sports wagering in certain areas of the district.
However, there is still a ways to go until Washington DC offers a full slate of igaming, as online casinos and online poker are still not allowed for now.
The Status of Legal Online Gambling in the District of Columbia
Online sports betting, daily fantasy sports (DFS), and lottery games are allowed in Washington DC.
Sports Betting in DC
Washington DC legalized online sports betting in 2018. This decision came several months after PASPA, which banned this type of gaming in the US, was repealed. The district enacted its own ordinances, but since it is not a state, Congress had to approve the legislation.
The DC Lottery operates the only online sportsbook that is legal throughout the district: GambetDC. However, the product has been widely criticized by gamblers (for its odds) and city government officials (for its performance). It’s unclear if the city wants the DC Lottery to continue with the enterprise.
Three operators are allowed to conduct sports betting from three retail sportsbooks located within three stadiums in the city. Caesars Sportsbook has a retail establishment inside Capital One Arena, while BetMGM has a retail sportsbook at Nationals Park and FanDuel has a facility at Audi Field.
BetMGM, Caesars, and FanDuel are all also allowed to run mobile sportsbooks, but these are only operational at the stadium and within a two-block radius of the stadiums.
Online Casinos in DC
Online casinos were not included in the latest legislation and remain illegal in Washington DC. There are no retail options in the district, either. Technically, it was the first jurisdiction in the country to approve real-money online casino games. However, elected officials repealed this authorization less than a year later. These games remain illegal and will be for the foreseeable future.
Online Poker in DC
Online poker is illegal in the District of Columbia as lawmakers did not include it in the legislation that legalized online sports betting. Like casinos, it is unlikely these sites will be approved any time soon, as there has not been any push in legislation.
Fantasy Sports in DC
DC does not have any law to either ban or regulate fantasy sports sites, leaving them a bit of a legal gray area. Two major providers accept players from here: FanDuel and DraftKings.
Important Information When Choosing an Online Gambling Site in DC
Many factors of legal Washington DC gaming sites, such as security and banking options, are pretty similar across the board. Thus, the most important information to consider when choosing one is the overall value and usability. These two areas set top-notch sportsbooks apart from the crowd.
One way top gaming platforms increase the overall value is by offering welcome packages to new players. This way, people in Washington DC receive funds that they can use to explore what the site offers. These deals are typically deposit matches or free bets that allow you to check out what the website has to offer. Make sure you read the wagering requirement of the welcome bonus before opting into it, so you know what to do to withdraw bonus funds.
The best gaming sites also offer a wide variety of promos to enhance the experience for existing players. This way, Washingtonians receive frequent rewards while placing their sports bets that boost the value. When considering what sportsbook to register with, visit the promotion page to evaluate the value of the available bonuses.
Common promotions at Washington DC gaming sites include parlay boosts, free bets, reload bonuses, and friend referral bonuses. Some may have special offers for popular events, such as the Super Bowl and World Series. We review all the promotions at these sportsbooks to make your selection process straightforward.
Another way sportsbooks in this district increase the value is through loyalty programs. Typically, these rewards are available to all registered players.
You receive points as you place sports wagers, which helps increase your tier level. As you climb the ranks, your rewards get better. Prizes include cash bonuses, free bets, site credits, and more. When considering overall value, consider what bonuses you can earn and whether you can earn points instantly.
Legal vs. Illegal Online Sports Betting
Legal online gambling sites have regulated licenses that mean a gambling authority holds them to strict standards. These sportsbooks protect players from problem gambling, keep their funds and information secure, have fair odds, and benefit the community through tax revenue.
On the other hand, Illegal offshore sportsbooks do not have any of these protections. They can easily disappear with your money or make it impossible to withdraw, among many other risks.
Illegal Online Gaming Offered in the District of Columbia
Illegal online operators target players in Washington DC by offering casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms. These options show up in Google search results and can be mistaken for legal ones. Players must be cautious when looking to register with a new gaming site.
Why Offshore Betting Sites are Unsafe
Offshore betting sites are not safe, and here is why:
- Identity Theft: If you use an unregulated site, it may steal your identity or even sell it to criminals. This problem is very prevalent, with 1.3 million cases reported in the US in 2020.
- Money at Risk: Offshore betting sites only care about one thing: money. They attempt to scam players with unfair account closures for winning and extremely slow payout times that encourage more betting. They may even seize your funds during transit.
- No Responsibility: These sites do not care about players and do not put protection in place to prevent problem gambling. They do not have any responsible gambling tools.
- Unfair Gameplay: Illegal betting sites do not play fair. They host misleading bonuses and promotions, then do not honor them. They may also cancel winning wagers and refuse to pay you.
- No Community Benefits: Unlike regulated sites, illegal ones are not required or inclined to pay tax revenue towards your community.
How to Know a Sports Betting Site is Legal, Regulated, and Safe
Washingtonians can protect themselves from offshore betting sites by recognizing these five signs:
- Domain: Sites that end in anything other than “.com” are likely illegal. Watch out for “.ag”, “.lv”, “.eu”, etc.
- Terminology: If a casino or sportsbook uses the language “US players welcome,” it is a red flag. Gaming rules in the US differ from state to state, so site terminology should reflect this.
- Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency is not legal for online gambling in the United States. If a site accepts Bitcoin or any other form, it is illegal.
- District Regulator Seal: Legal options will have a DC regulator seal in their website’s footer.
- USGamingReview.com Approval: The easiest way to know if a site is illegal is to read our reviews.
Why Choose a Legal US Online Sports Betting Site?
There are several benefits for Washingtonians choosing legal online sportsbooks, including:
- Fairness: Legal sites host fair odds, games, and promotions. The terms and conditions are clear, and the operator does not trick players.
- Accountability: DC’s Office of Lottery and Gaming holds online sportsbooks accountable for their actions. If a player has a dispute, they can visit this authority’s website to file a complaint.
- Protection: These sportsbooks protect players with strong encryption and security measures that keep your funds and information safe.
- Community Benefit: Using legal sites benefit Washingtonians. The Office of Lottery and Gaming requires a 10% tax from online DC sportsbooks. Then, the district uses this revenue to help Washingtonians and boost the economy.
- Responsible Gaming: The DC Office of Lottery and Gaming is committed to promoting responsible gaming. It ensures gaming sites offer tools to prevent problem behavior, educate Washingtonians on this topic, and provide resources for struggling players.
Responsible Gambling Resources in DC
The Office of Lottery and Gaming requires online sites to list various district programs that help struggling Washingtonians. It also gives information about them on its website. A few of these organizations include:
- National Council on Problem Gambling: This advocate helps players find programs and services in their area. It also offers an anonymous helpline available 24/7.
- Gambler’s Anonymous: This group provides a fellowship of struggling players that can discuss their issues together and provide support for each other. You can find support meeting locations around the DC area on the GA site.
- Gam-Anon: This organization provides support for the loved ones of gaming addicts.
- GamTalk: This group provides a peer support community that is available 24/7 and has moderators.
Gaming Regulator Information
The Washington DC Office of Lottery and Gaming regulates online gaming within the district. We recommend visiting their website, where you can find even more information on online gambling rules and regulations.
History of Online Gambling Legislation
Online gaming is relatively new to Washington DC. The district’s first advancement was when it added an online lottery in 2012. After that, it did not reevaluate the law until 2018. At that time, DC lawmakers legalized internet sports betting.
However, the DC Lottery was the only one permitted to provide these services. Since then, two other sportsbooks launched mobile versions in the district, but both are only legal in specified two-block sections of DC.
Although the district does not regulate daily fantasy sports, this type of gaming is not banned. Thus, Washingtonians can enjoy this type of online gaming as well.
Is online gambling legal in Washington DC?
Yes, it is. However, players in the district can only enjoy sports betting and daily fantasy sports. Casinos and poker rooms remain illegal in the district.
What are the risks of playing at an illegal offshore online sports betting site?
Playing at an offshore sportsbook is very dangerous, as you are putting your money and information at risk. These sites do not have responsible gaming measures, benefit DC, or employ fair business practices.
Can I bet at legal US sportsbooks using cryptocurrencies?
No, you cannot. Any gaming site that accepts cryptocurrency is illegal in the US.
Where can I get the latest news about online sports betting in Washington DC?
The best way to get the information about online gaming in Washington DC is by reading the articles on USGamingReview.com.