Gambling in Washington DC
Sports Illegal
Daily Fantasy Illegal
Casino Illegal
Poker Illegal
Lottery Illegal

Gambling in Washington DC: The Best Washington Gambling Sites for 2019

Washington DC Daily Fantasy Sports

Currently, no laws have been passed formally legalizing daily fantasy sports in Washington DC. However, there have been no bills or judgements that prohibit paid fantasy sports either. This means that residents of the District of Columbia can play at any of the big-name sites with no worries about the legality of it.

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  • We write free gambling guides, using our many years of combined experience in the industry. We are currently updating a detailed guide for online gambling in the US.

Gambling Laws in Washington DC

In general, gambling is pretty restricted in the nation’s capital. Although it is not a state, it operates under laws passed by a council, with a large proportion of the laws being influenced by the Federal Government’s stance on issues. Almost all forms of online gambling are illegal, though daily fantasies are permitted. Currently, sports betting and casino gambling are also not legally possible in the district, though there is a good chance that this will change in the near future.

There are no racetracks, bookmakers, Indian or commercial casinos in DC, meaning that residents have to cross the border into Maryland in order to gamble legally. The only form of gambling, aside from paid fantasy sports that is allowed is the Washington DC lottery. Read on to find out more about the specific situation for each type of gambling in DC.

Washington DC Sports Betting

The situation for Washington DC sports betting is a little complicated. It has long been illegal in the district, but lawmakers pushed to legalize it in late 2018. A bill was passed in 2019 that paved the way for sports betting in Washington DC to be fully legalized. It is possible that this will be the case by September 2019.

Washington DC Online Casinos

Unlike sports betting, the law surrounding casino gambling in Washington DC is straightforward. All casino betting, whether online or land-based, is illegal. Unfortunately for players, there seems to be no political will to change this in the future, so your best bet is to cross the border to a more liberal state or head up to Atlantic City.

Washington DC Online Poker

Online poker in Washington DC falls under the same rules asonline casino. This means that, currently, there are no legal poker rooms in the District of Columbia. There aren’t even any land-based establishments, so you will have to leave the district if you want to play this game for money.

Washington DC Lottery

The DC Lottery was set up in 1982, following on the back of many different charitable lotteries being set up across the nation. There are a range of different games that players can choose from, though all tickets must be purchased in person at a registered retailer. You can find out more on the official website.

History of Gambling in Washington DC

There haven’t been too many massive ups and downs in the history of gambling in Washington DC. Instead, gambling has always been restricted quite tightly. It is likely that sports betting will become available to residents soon, but this is an unusual step for DC. You can see all the major changes throughout the years, below.

Washington DC Gambling History
1982 The DC Lottery is founded, following the legalization of a lottery in the district.
2011 An attempt to pass a bill legalizing online poker and casinos is overturned by Congress.
2012 A bill intending to allow online lottery sales is defeated.
2016 Daily Fantasy Sports sites begin operating in DC, arguing that they are games of skill.
2018 A bill is passed allowing for the legalization of sports betting in the district, facilitated and run by the DC Lottery.

Washington DC State Facts

As our nation’s capital, most people should be fairly familiar with Washington DC. However, just in case, I’ve compiled a few facts and pieces of trivia about the district. Did you know, for example, that the city has no “J” Street (the streets are lettered rather than numbered), because the city layout of Washington was planned before the letter was commonly used in the English language. The city is also home to the largest library in the world: The Library of Congress.

Facts About Washington DC
Population 693,972
Min. Income $1,256.67
Biggest Offline Gambling Location N/A
Gambling Commissioner N/A
Spoken Languages English 85%, Spanish 7.46%
Biggest Local Sports Team
Washington DC Tax Authority
Link to the State Law https://dc.gov/page/laws-regulations-and-courts
Gambling Winning Tax Federal Only
State Website Link https://dc.gov/
Famous Local Gamblers None

Gambling Age in Washington DC

As gambling is illegal in most forms in DC, the only minimum age that applies at the moment is for the DC Lottery. For this, you must be at least 18 years old to buy a ticket. As with the rest of the country, you have to be 21 or over to buy or drink alcohol. The complicated minimum age here is for cannabis use. Although you can now legally possess up to 2g of cannabis once you are 21, the sale or purchase of the drug remains illegal for everyone, no matter what age you are.

  • Online Gambling Age:
    You can play the DC Lottery as long as you are 18+ years old.
  • Alcohol Age
    You must be at least 21+ years old to drink alcohol.
  • Weed Age
    People over 21 years of age are legally allowed to possess marijuana.

Responsible Gambling and Addiction Prevention

Unfortunately, lots of people struggle with gambling addiction, and there are many thousands of problem gamblers out there that need help. However, since gambling isn’t currently legal in Washington DC, there aren’t many local organizations that can help. Instead, if you think that you have a problem, then you should turn to the National Council on Problem Gambling for advice and support.

Upcoming Regulation and Expected Changes

The only update that is on the cards is the probability that sports betting will soon be available for Washington DC residents. A bill was passed to this effect at the end of 2018, and originally there was intent to rush the process through. However, it has been made clear that the legalization of sports betting in DC will not be done quickly. The decision could still be overturned by Congress, but it is hoped that legal sports bets will be accepted by September 2019.

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