District of Columbia Sports Betting

Washington D.C. stands out when it comes to gambling and betting activities. It may not be a state in the traditional sense, but as a district, it possesses the autonomy to establish its own regulations. Consequently, D.C. has succeeded in legalizing sports betting. In a burst of enthusiasm in January 2019, sports betting became legal, surging ahead of several states in this regard. However, it seems lawmakers either overlooked or were unconcerned with the need to implement a framework for sports betting!

Understandably the right processes and procedures need to be put in place when providing sports betting to residents, however their inability to move forward at reasonable speed is shocking. It has been more than over a year, yet not a sniff of sports betting has been announced.

Though, I must admit they were extremely quick to award part of the infrastructure build to Intralot, a firm that specializes in sports betting kiosks and terminals. But maybe this is indicative of why the feel they need to move at a snails pace, because the tendering process reeked of favoritism. In fact, there was no tendering process, the contract was simply awarded to Intralot! As a result of a lack of transparency and perceived kick backs to administrators, a civil lawsuit has been filed against the district by local citizens. This is quite extraordinary and it speaks volumes as to how incompetent the district is being run.

Putting aside the slow pace for a moment, sports betting legislation passed through with Class A and Class B sports betting categories. Sports betting is available to private sportsbook operators and small to medium card room gaming.

In summary, come back at the end of quarter 2020 and fingers crossed, you will be able to place a bet.

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Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Washington D.C.?

As a way to help the city generate healthy revenue, lawmakers managed to pass the bill and allow sports betting to be legal for both land-based and online activity to anyone residing in the District of Columbia. The D.C Lottery would be in charge of running the program and provide players from all over the city convenient ways to place bets in person at stadiums, through designated kiosks around the city, via specially designed mobile apps, and online sites.

Although the process still had a long schedule ahead before a full land-based and online launch, May 2020 finally saw brick and mortar sportsbooks open up, along with the D.C. Lottery mobile app for players who wanted quick and easy access to current games, bets, and game stats.

GambetDC is the sports betting platform that offers betting on iOS and Android devices, which includes desktop access as well. The app gives players options from both local, national, and international sports and teams.

Expecting huge success and a healthy revenue stream, the 2020 global pandemic has caused a snag that has slowed down the frequency of bets due to the fact that all sports in the country were either completely cancelled or suspended until it was safe to proceed again. Not the best timing, but there are still options until the world goes back to normal.

What Can Be Done When There Are No Sports Being Played?

Now that sportsbooks and the D.C. Lottery sports betting app is up and running, there are little to no games to actually place a bet on. Because of this, lots of people are resorting to international sports and teams that they might not have heard of, splitting betters into two categories: those who love the novelty and uncertainty of these bets, and those who cannot wait for national sports to start up again.

As a way to further expand sports-related betting options but also give people sports-related games that they could bet on and have fun with, several online fantasy sports sites have quickly become a great option, until traditional sports started up again.

A final option that some people are turning to is online offshore sports betting sites. While the US has some national sites, there are also many offshore sites that have a wide range of international games, sports variety, and an assortment of bets that are not always available domestically.

Legality of Online Offshore Sports Betting Sites

In general, offshore sports betting sites are considered illegal for US players, though the online gambling laws are hazy on the details. This makes online sportsbooks fall into a gray area that plenty of players take advantage of. Since these types of sites are not governed by anyone within the borders of the US and they accept players from the US, lots of players consider this an open market they can play in without repercussions. 

While some states contest that placing gambling bets at offshore sports betting sites is against federal law, to date, there has not been any player from the US who has been charged with illegal betting. With millions of bets being made each year, most players feel it is a safe option until domestic sports are back up and running like normal.

Current Washington D.C. Sports Betting Law

When legislation was passed, the D.C. Lottery was given the responsibility to regulate all sports betting and run establishments that accept sports , though the bill proposed that private businesses would be allowed to apply for a license to run sports betting amenities across the city.

Once all sports games are back to normal play, people in D.C. will be able to place bets in person at stadiums, licensed establishments, through the D.C. Lottery sports betting app, and online. Players should keep in mind that although the district has legalized sports betting, there are a few locations around the city that prohibit bets through the app (location verification will prohibit bets in certain locations that are labeled as federal enclaves).

Sports Betting Requirements

Anyone who is a minimum of 18 years of age can legally place a sports bet through one of the authorized methods regulated by the D.C. Lottery or a privately owned and licensed establishment around the city. Before a bet can be made in person, players may need to prove they are of legal age and a resident of the district, though not all places will require it. To keep things simple, always have some legally accepted identification.

Online sports betting is a little different for the fact that anyone can claim to be a resident who is of legal age. To ensure all players follow standard gambling laws online, everyone is required to confirm their age, identification, and current address. This process is often done by scanning and sending the site valid legal documents like a driver’s license or passport.

What are the Different Types of Wagers I Can Make?

Each sportsbook and site will have a set number of bet types that can be made, so anyone new to sports betting should become familiar with the most common types of bets.

Most Common Wagers on Sports


A quick and easy wager that anyone can understand, the moneyline bet is perfect for anyone wanting to start out in sports betting or a seasoned player looking to get a quick win. This is essentially a wager made on the person or team that will win a specific game or tournament.

Players should note that although most moneyline bets seem like an easy win, they should consider different factors that will help them make an informed wager (player or team condition, their current winning/losing streak, etc.). The allure of the bigger underdog payout is one way that lots of beginners get caught out and lose their bet.

Point Spread

A wager on the team that will either win or lose within a specific range of points that are pre-chosen by the sportsbooks. This is a way to help even odds between two teams, where the underdogs often gain points, while the favorite team is deducted points. For example, if the Red Team has +6 and the Blue Team has -6, that means for a bet on the Red Team to win, they will have to win the game or lose only within 6 points.


The sportsbook will have a number listed as the total number of goals or runs in a specific game. The player making the wager will then have to choose whether the final goals or runs will be over the bookie’s number or under it.


A future bet is made on a person or team that the player thinks will be the ultimate winner of a particular tournament, competition, pool, or league. This wager is made in advance, before the event officially begins, so players have to carefully consider the options and place a bet that will leave them tense throughout the event.


This type of wager is easy to understand and has attractive returns, but it is also difficult to win. To make a parlay bet, the player makes a few selections from different games, which then count as one single wager. The number of bet options can be anything between 2 and 12 selections, though players should keep in mind the more selections there are, the harder it is to win.

Although most sportsbooks will have several more options available (some are even location-specific), new players should stick to the basic bets until they are comfortable to gamble on more difficult wagers.

Online Sports Betting Branching Out

To give players even more entertainment, online offshore sports betting sites will have a wide range of betting options and games that are not available in the district. Over the years, they became a popular choice for people who were looking for fun, especially before the lawmakers passed the sports betting bill in D.C.

To keep games and wagers fresh, most sites will have the general sports bet options available, along with several other unique wagers that are designed to be challenging, or they are specific to particular “sports” like eGames or international entertainment events.