Washington DC Online Sports Betting Laws

It’s been a long road for Washington DC sports betting but finally sports fans have access to online betting apps.

It’s taken a long time for Washington, DC to embrace sports betting; however, it’s not the district’s fault. Washington, DC’s mayor must have her laws approved by Congress, which tends to be more conservative. After an online gambling measure died several years ago, it seemed like Washington, DC would struggle to pass sports betting. However, its sports betting bill became effective two years ago, about six months after it was introduced and adopted, changing Washington, DC’s online gambling laws.

The district’s sports betting industry has remained small nonetheless. The only three sportsbooks are GambetDC, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, and BetMGM. Washington, DC’s sports betting market is also small with a smaller population than other sports betting markets. But because the federal government hasn’t legalized sports betting, sportsbook apps aren’t allowed to operate inside federal buildings. With so many market limitations, sports betting will likely be more of a convenience for DC residents than a thriving and competitive gambling market. 

Washington, DC Sportsbooks 

Washington, DC has few sportsbooks and even fewer on the way. DC’s sportsbooks aren’t available district-wide either. Here’s what bettors need to know about DC’s three current sportsbooks.  

BetMGM DC

BetMGM is Washington, DC’s most recent sportsbook. It partnered with the Washington Nationals and runs its sportsbook out of Nationals Park. Like Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, BetMGM’s app is only available within two blocks of Nationals Park. Unlike Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, BetMGM offers a $600 risk-free bet. Because it’s a one-time welcome bonus, that’s not a deal-breaker. BetMGM has competitive odds across the board without depending on one side of the line too. But because both sportsbooks have their own territories, they can focus on out-competing the uncompetitive lottery sportsbook.  

Claim $600 Risk Free Bet At BetMGM DC

Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill DC

Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill is a competitive sportsbook with strong odds all around. It also offers a $500 risk-free bet to new bettors, which will attract DC bettors to the UK sportsbook brand. However, there’s a catch to great odds and a welcome bonus. Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill is only available inside Capital One Arena or within two blocks of it. It has a retail location in the arena if bettors don’t want to wager online. But making the trip to Capital One Arena is inconvenient for many bettors. They’ll have to decide whether the tradeoff is worth it. 

Claim $500 Risk-Free Bet At Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill DC

GamebetDC

GamebetDC is the DC Lottery’s sportsbook. It’s available online in the entire district, except for federal land and buildings. It’s the most accessible sportsbook app and website in Washington, DC. Because it’s a lottery-run sportsbook, its goal is to maximize revenue for the District. That goal is reflected in the app’s uncompetitive odds. Casual bettors won’t mind the differences. But professionals and high-rollers will notice when Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill has 30 points on GamebetDC’s underdog lines. If GamebetDC wants to compete, then it has to bear Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, BetMGM, and surrounding states in mind.

Washington, DC Sportsbook Bonuses

Washington, DC bettors will find a few types of bonuses in their sportsbooks. Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill and BetMGM offer the same type of welcome bonus. But both sportsbooks also offer ongoing promotions. Washington, DC could also get new sportsbooks in the future that offer deposit bonuses. So, here are the main types of bets that bettors will find at DC sportsbooks and in surrounding markets. 

Risk-Free Bets

Risk-free bets allow bettors to get their stakes refunded if they lose their first wagers. However, the refunds come in site credits, which can only be used for sports betting. Bettors won’t be able to withdraw site credits as they can with cash. But risk-free bets make attractive welcome bonuses, and they’re good for ongoing promotions. Bettors should just remember that they must wager their own money first before any risks are mitigated. These bets aren’t free money. 

Deposit Bonuses

Deposit bonuses reward bettors for how much money they put into their accounts on their first deposits and how much they wager afterward. Washington, DC’s current sportsbooks don’t offer deposit bonuses. However, major brands like DraftKings offer them as welcome bonuses. They’re rarely used as ongoing promotions, but bettors may see them from time to time. They should know that the sportsbook will match their deposits with site credits up to a certain amount at some advertised rate. But there’s also a playthrough requirement that bettors have to find in the terms and conditions. 

Deposit bonuses look attractive, but bettors must understand the terms to plan how to take advantage of those bonuses. 

No-Deposit Bonuses

No-deposit bonuses are simple bonuses. They reward bettors with site credits just for registering accounts. But because they’re easy, they’re low-dollar bonuses. They usually run from $25-$50. We’ve seen no-deposit bonuses go higher, but only for a push in a new market and not for long. Unibet offered a $100 no-deposit bonus when it first entered Virginia, but shortly lowered the amount to $40. No-deposit bonuses often tag onto large welcome bonuses. Bettors should treat them as pleasant surprises, but shouldn’t rely on them to fund their accounts. 

Loyalty, VIP, And Reward Programs

Sportsbook loyalty programs of all varieties award bettors points based on how much they wager and how often they wager. Habitual sharp bettors can reach high tiers that offer everything from personalized banking to customized sportsbook swag. Lower tiers often offer new bonuses or promotions. BetMGM bettors will be able to use their sportsbook activities to generate M-Life points. That’s a big perk for bettors who frequent the MGM Grand and want to save some points for a getaway. Bettors should keep an eye out for opportunities to make their dollars count with sportsbook loyalty programs. 

Why Licensed Washington, DC Sportsbooks Are DC Bettors’ Best Options

It may be tempting to try a bookie or an illegal sportsbook. They may offer odds that look fantastic. But those odds come with a catch. Illegal sportsbooks don’t have to pay their bettors. They don’t lure bettors in with legitimate contracts. Instead, some of them encourage bettors to make large wagers with the promises of even larger rewards. But some will refuse to pay winnings even if bettors are owed them. Others will tweak odds to make sure bettors receive less money than they should. Many of the rest of them just run out of money to pay winners. 

In contrast, licensed Washington, DC sportsbooks can be sued by disgruntled customers. The District can even get involved. However, bettors who wager illegally have no legal recourse. They can’t sue for winnings they believe they’re owed. Bettors should stick with the safest options and use licensed DC sportsbooks. 

Washington, DC Sportsbooks: FAQs

How old do bettors have to be to wager at Washington, DC sportsbooks?

18. Washington, DC has a low gambling age, which may surprise bettors. It’s unclear why the District of Columbia has such a low gambling age. But it could become a safe haven for online sports betting for young bettors in surrounding states. Whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen. 

Who regulates Washington, DC sportsbooks? 

The Washington, DC Office of Lottery and Gaming regulates DC sportsbooks. It sets the sports betting license requirements and oversees the licensing process. If bettors appreciate their social security numbers being secure on their sportsbook apps, they have the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming to thank. 

How safe are Washington, DC online sportsbooks?

They’re among the most heavily regulated and secure products on the market. Sportsbooks must submit their software to the Lottery before launching. That way, auditors can ensure that sportsbooks don’t release unsafe products. The layers of legislation and oversight keep sportsbooks safe for bettors to use. 

How can bettors submit disputes about Washington, DC sportsbooks? 

Bettors have a few ways to resolve disputes with sportsbooks. First, bettors can go through sportsbook’s customer service hierarchies. Licensed sportsbooks are incentivized to solve problems themselves. Otherwise, the DC Lottery can open its own investigation into the sportsbook in question. That’s bad for a sportsbook’s reputation, especially if it’s trying to get licensed somewhere else.  

How do Washington, DC sportsbooks protect bettor data?

Washington, DC sportsbooks use several security protocols to protect bettor data. There are many standard encryption protocols available for sportsbooks to use. But some sportsbooks offer additional security measures, like two-factor authentication. Finally, bettors can take control of their accounts by practicing good personal security. Would it kill you to use a different account than your other 58 online accounts?  

Why can’t Washington, DC sportsbooks operate in federal buildings?  

The United States government hasn’t legalized sports betting. All PASPA did was allow states to legalize sports betting. So, federal property still forbids sports betting. The rest of Washington, DC is fair game for sports betting as long as a licensed sportsbook is allowed to operate there and bettors are within range. 

About the Author

Christopher Gerlacher

Christopher Gerlacher is a writer tucked into the foothills of Colorado Springs, Colorado.