The Washington, DC online sports betting market is probably the most unique one in the nation Some of the best operators, such as BetMGM, operate in the District of Columbia, but they are limited to use within small chunks of the city. BetMGM, for example, can only be used within two blocks of Nationals Park.
Then there is GambetDC, an app run by the Office of Lottery and Gaming. GambetDC is available almost anywhere in Washington, but its reputation is not strong. Indeed, its Apple App Store rating is a paltry 1.5 stars after over 400 reviews.
At the end of the day, the complexity of online sports betting in Washington, DC isn’t ideal. But it is better than the many states with no online betting whatsoever.
DC’s Best Sports Betting App
Of course, the unique nature of Washington, DC mobile sports betting makes it hard to narrow down to just one best app. However, at Gaming Today, we believe that BetMGM is the best overall choice for DC bettors, despite the limitations for its use.
Best for DC Bettors
At BetMGM DC
Available On: iOS, Android, Web Browser
States Accepted: AZ, CO, DC, IN, IA, MI, MS, NV, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV & WY
Best for DC Bettors
BetMGM Washington, DC
Washington, DC Sports Betting Updates
May 16, 2022:
The District’s three commercial sports betting operators (BetMGM, Caesars, and Grand Central) reported $13.2 million in betting handle during April 2022. This lead to $828,629 in revenue.
GambetDC took in $5.2 million in bets in April 2022, with $602,646 in revenue.
April 12, 2022:
Elys Game Technology is set to open a third sportsbook within a restaurant or bar in Washington, DC. allBets DC is expected to open in Taqueria Del Barrio. This follows Elys’ partnering with Grand Central and DC Cloakroom (which is not open yet.)
February 25, 2022:
The District of Columbia reported a six-month low in sports betting handle for January. BetMGM, Caesars, Grand Central, and GambetDC app combined for $18.6 million in handle for the month. This is notable because almost every other jurisdiction with legal sports betting reported record highs to start the year.
February 13, 2022:
GambetDC suffers a catastrophic failure during the biggest sports betting day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday. The app was unavailable on iOS devices because it did not send updates to Apple in time to renew its security certificate.
February 10, 2022:
The Washington Post reviewed the top retail sportsbooks in DC including the BetMGM Sportsbook at Nationals Park.
February 1, 2022:
The BetMGM retail sportsbook opened at Nationals Park. The sportsbook will be open daily, but of course, game days are expected to be particularly busy. The mobile sportsbook remains open within two blocks of the stadium as well.
Other Washington, DC Sports Betting Apps
Caesars Sportsbook DC
- Welcome Bonus: First bet insurance up to $1,100
- Available: Within two blocks of Capital One Arena
- Platforms: iOS app, Android app, Web browser
- Partnership: Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals
- Key Features: Caesars Rewards; lots of odds boosters; several daily promotions; highly competitive odds;
- Best Deposit Method: PayPal
- Overall Rating: 5/5
Caesars Sportsbook (formerly William Hill) is another excellent and well-known brand for those age 18 and up who happen to be near Capital One Arena (though not in federal enclaves like the Smithsonian.) And if you happen to be in the arena, even better; there is a two-story lounge that is an absolute dream for sports bettors.
Caesars Sportsbook DC was the only option outside of GambetDC for quite a while, until BetMGM joined the ranks in May 2021. However, bettors may not realize this, as Caesars originally ran under the William Hill name before the two companies merged.
Since the acquisition of William Hill, Caesars has become well known for its generous welcome bonuses. At present, new members of the Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill DC app receive first bet insurance up to $1,100. All bettors also receive access to Caesars Rewards, regarded as the best loyalty program in the industry.
FanDuel Sportsbook DC (Coming Soon)
- Welcome Bonus: Risk-free bet up to $1,000
- Available: near Audi Stadium (not live yet)
- Platforms: iOS app, Android app, Web browser
- Partnership: DC United
- Key Features: Highly intuitive app; more promotions than anywhere else; some of the best odds online; ability to use the same login for FanDuel DFS; well-known brand
- Best Deposit Method: PayPal
It’s unknown when the FanDuel DC Sportsbook at Audi Field will open. Most insiders believe it will happen by the end of the 2022 MLS season in November, but again, it is mostly a guess at this point.
When it launches, FanDuel Sportsbook will be one of the best options in the state. Alongside Caesars and BetMGM, FanDuel consistently offers the best odds in states across the US, making the platform a highly anticipated addition to the DC market.
New members at FanDuel Sportsbook can receive a risk-free bet of up to $1,000.
- Welcome Bonus: 100% deposit bonus between $10 and $100
- Available: Almost anywhere in Washington, DC
- Platforms: iOS app, Android app, Web browser
- Partnership: Run by the Office of Lottery and Gaming
- Key Features: Separate pre-game and in-game betting sections; parlay boosters; special prop bet offers; available almost anywhere in DC
- Best Deposit Method: Online bank transfer as well as prepaid card and Skrill.
- Overall Rating: 2.5/5
GambetDC is a lottery-run online sportsbook powered by the DC Lottery. It’s the only platform available almost anywhere in the district (other than federal enclaves like the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial), and it allows bettors 18 and up.
GambetDC is a not-for-profit brand and therefore offers pretty terrible odds. While the commercial sportsbooks charge the standard vig of around 4.5%, GambetDC can charge as much as 8% to deter problem gambling. That makes the lottery-run option subpar compared to its more competitive (although less accessible) counterparts.
New members of the GambetDC app can receive a 100% deposit match of up to $100.
All Washington, DC Sportsbook Sites
|Sportsbook||Bonus Offer||Local Partner||Launch Date|
|BetMGM||Risk-free bet up to $1,000||Nationals Park||June 2021|
|Caesars Sportsbook||First bet insurance up to $1,100||Capital One Arena||December 2020|
|FanDuel||Risk-free bet up to $1,000||Audi Field||Fall 2022?|
|GambetDC||100% deposit-match up to $100||DC Lottery||May 2020|
|Grand Central Sportsbook DC||none||Grand Central Bar on 18th Street||October 2021|
How To Place A Bet In Washington, DC
Step 1: Be In The Right Place
You can bet via the lottery-run GambetDC app anywhere in the district except for federal enclaves. You can find a map of exactly where you need to be on the GambetDC website.
For other sports betting apps in DC, you need to be within a two-block radius of its partnering professional sports venue. This means you have to be within 2 blocks of Capital One Arena, Nationals Park, or (soon) Audi Field, depending on the app.
However, the same restrictions on federal enclaves apply to commercial betting apps, like Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill and BetMGM, as well. In other words, you cannot bet access the app in places like the Jefferson Memorial. Since the geotargeting software used is good but not perfect, this can make for a frustrating experience with the apps.
You do not have to be a resident of Washington, DC, to place a bet via any of the DC sports betting apps. You simply have to be physically located in the right spot.
Step 2: Register And Deposit
Click the “register” or “signup” button to create an account at the sports betting app. You’ll need to provide your basic identifying information, so be sure it matches the info on your ID. This deters fraud and helps to ensure that bettors are over 18 years old.
Then make a deposit using PayPal, online bank transfer, Skrill, e-check, or prepaid card. Credit card payments are often considered cash advance transactions, which come with fees.
Step 3: Place Bets
Select the bet you’d like to place, enter the amount of your wager, and submit the bet to the betslip. You can also select multiple bets and combine them into a parlay wager to maximize the payout.
Washington, DC Legal Sportsbooks
It’s far safer to bet via legally licensed online sportsbooks in DC—or neighboring states with legal sports betting—than it is to join an offshore, illegal website. GambetDC, Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, and FanDuel all follow strict player protection rules that ensure the most secure betting experience.
There are many reasons to avoid an illegal sports betting site, but these are the most notable:
- Compromised personal information
- Refusal to pay winnings
- Hidden terms and conditions and other predatory practices
Then there’s the small chance of getting into legal trouble for betting at an illegal site. While it’s not likely, it’s an unnecessary risk.
Washington, DC Sports Betting Revenue
Washington, DC sports betting revenue has remained relatively consistent even though the overall sports betting handle went down.
Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill DC handled $13,917,000.73 in November 2021 and generated $3,035,428.97 in gross gaming revenue.
Revenue from DC sportsbooks is nothing compared to powerhouses like New Jersey, with its sports betting handle totaling over $1 billion and $1.1 billion for September and October, respectively. But for its population size of around 800,000, it’s about expected.
How Washington, DC Compares To Other Jurisdictions
Washington, DC pales in comparison to its two neighboring states. Even when FanDuel Sportsbook launches in the district, there will be access to only three commercial online sportsbooks and all are restricted to within two blocks of their partner venues.
However, Washington, DC does allow sports betting for those 18 and up. Maryland and Virginia require sports bettors to be at least 21 years old.
Maryland online sports betting became legal in May 2021. Regulators are in the process of finalizing rules to issue licenses. But the Maryland market can have up to 60 different online sports betting apps and sites, so it will blow DC out of the water upon launch. Launch estimates have changed several times–from an anticipated fall 2021 launch to now being expected to launch mid-2022.
Like DC, the Commonwealth of Virginia launched online sportsbooks despite having no local casinos. But unlike DC, the Virginia sports betting apps are all private companies that offer their services to anyone over 21 in the Commonwealth. That means more accessibility, better overall odds, and more promotions. There are almost a dozen apps available in Virginia, and they are available throughout the state with no geographic restrictions like in DC. Virginia restricts college betting, though, prohibiting bets on in-state teams. So, if Virginia Tech fans want to bet on the Hokies, they will need to head to DC or West Virginia to do so.
Washington, DC Betting Successes And Failures
DC Sports Betting Success
The legalization of sports betting in Washington, DC was a success for the entire US because it set a precedent: if the country’s capital can legalize it, why can’t we? It’s a point you often see made in regards to DC legalizing marijuana too.
In terms of Washington, DC’s sports betting market itself, the rollout was a success insofar as it’s legal to bet on sports online in the district. That’s more than most US states can say, including the top three most populated: California, Texas, and Florida.
Where Could DC Improve Online Gambling?
The Washington, DC sports betting market is subpar compared to nearby states like Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Those markets allow for many more online sportsbooks, all of which are available no matter where you are in the state.
Further, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, along with Michigan, offer online casinos and legal poker sites as well. So not only is the district’s online sports betting market lesser than all those states, it has a third as many online gambling options.
If local lawmakers in DC see enough revenue go to Maryland, which is expected to have a far better sports betting market, online sportsbooks other than GambetDC and a few commercial options may become more accessible.
Legalization Effort In Washington, DC
While the case came out of a battle in New Jersey, the US Supreme Court met in the Supreme Court Building at One First Street to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018. This paved the way for states and territories outside of Nevada to legalize online sports betting.
That same year, DC Councilmember Jack Evans–who resigned in 2020 amid ethics violations as the longest-running politician in the district’s history–introduced Act 22-594, the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018. Signed into law on May 3, 2019, the act legalized a lottery-run sports betting model in the state with professional stadiums allowed to open a retail sportsbook and accept online bets within a two-block radius.
The success of the lottery-run model came despite huge lobbying pushes from giants like FanDuel and DraftKings as well as DC sports teams, who wanted the more profitable casino-style model. That’s the model employed in both Virginia and Maryland. This could spell big competition challenges for the district moving forward.
Thankfully, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill (Capital One Arena) and BetMGM (Nationals Park) are available to those physically located inside the partnering stadiums or within a two-block radius. Bettors who live nearby or are willing to make the trek can find high-quality odds on par with any other state in the US.
FanDuel is also expected to launch through a partnership with DC United’s Audi Field by the end of 2021.
Timeline of Washington, DC Sports Betting
- May 14, 2018: PASPA is overturned by the US Supreme Court, allowing states and jurisdictions to legalize online sports betting.
- September 2018: DC Councilmember Jack Evans introduces the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018.
- December 18, 2018: The DC Council passes the act, effectively legalizing online sports betting in the district pending the rest of the legislative process, such as the mayor’s signature and approval from Congress.
- March 27, 2019: CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Ted Leonsis, announces that Greene Turtle restaurant at Capital One Arena will be converted into a sportsbook pending legalization.
- May 3, 2019: Sports betting officially becomes legal in Washington, DC, leaving regulators to create rules and regulations and create the GambetDC app.
- October 3, 2019: William Hill Sportsbook is announced as the sports betting venue inside Capital One Arena.
- May 29, 2020: The DC Lottery launches GambetDC, officially ushering in legal online sports betting.
- August 3, 2020: William Hill and Capital One Arena open the very first sportsbook located inside a US sports venue.
- December 29, 2020: William Hill Sportsbook launches its app for use within a two-block radius of Capital One Arena.
- May 2021: BetMGM DC to launch in partnership with the Washington Nationals, giving bettors access to the app within two blocks of Nationals Park.
- August 2021: William Hill rebrands to Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.
- January 2022: Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill DC reports over $13 million in betting handle for November 2021; BetMGM DC reports over $1.7 million in betting handle for the same month.
Washington, DC Professional Sports Teams
Here is a list of Washington, DC’s professional sports teams:
- Washington Commanders (NFL)
- Washington Nationals (MLB)
- DC United (MLS)
- Washington Capitals (NHL)
- Washington Wizards (NBA)
- Washington Mystics (WNBA)
The Washington Commanders’ home stadium is FedExField, which is technically located in Maryland. So there won’t be a DC sports betting app associated with the team, but you will be able to bet via Maryland sports betting apps sometime this year.
Both inside DC and in all states with legal sports betting, the Washington Commanders are one of the most popular options for betting. Not only is the NFL the number one most popular sport for regular season betting in the US, Washington has millions of fans across the country.
Nationals Park will open a BetMGM Sportsbook in the coming months, and the BetMGM app will be available within two blocks of the iconic red, white, and blue ballpark. In the meantime, betting on the Washington Nationals remains a favorite pastime as old as the team itself.
Capital One Arena Teams
Capital One Arena is home to the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystic, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, and America’s first in-stadium sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. It’s a sports bettor’s paradise on ice.
The MLS is getting more popular every season, and sports betting can only help that trend–especially when FanDuel Sportsbook opens inside Audi Field, located just 0.2 miles from Nationals Park. The FanDuel app will also be available within two blocks of the pitch.
Washington, DC College Sports Teams
The following are the NCAA Division 1 college schools located in Washington, DC:
- American University
- George Washington
- George Mason
- Howard University
Unfortunately, you cannot bet on any DC college teams or on any college games that take place within the district. You can bet on any D1 college sports that take place outside of the district as long as no DC college teams are participating.
This is a common restriction even in states with the most liberal sports betting laws. For example, New Jersey restricts bets on college games taking place in the state and on any in-state schools, regardless of where they’re played.
Essentially, Washington, DC and New Jersey have the same restrictions on college sports betting.
Thankfully, this is a town with alumni from all over the country. Many DC bars are college bars for out-of-state schools like Penn Quarter Sports Tavern for Syracuse fans or Kelly’s Irish Times for Penn State fans.
Further, you can visit Virginia, Maryland, or any other state with legal sports betting and place bets on Washington, DC teams.
You can also bet on DC adjacent teams at sportsbooks inside the district. For example, you can bet on the University of Maryland, Mount St. Mary’s, and Bowie State.
Other Sports To Bet On In Washington, DC
You can bet on both domestic and international professional sports in Washington, DC. That means the following competitions are fair game:
- Formula One
- European soccer
- Aussie rules football
- Asian baseball
The list goes on. If the DC Lottery allows the wager, then it will be available for betting. If not, you can also reach out to the sportsbook to request the line.
Washington, DC is one of the few jurisdictions that completely restrict betting on horse racing. That means no in-district tracks, off-track betting (OTB) facilities, or horse race betting sites.
But Washington, DC is home to several soccer bars, which air even the earliest European soccer matches. This gives soccer bettors a community outlet for betting on and viewing the games.
High-profile MMA and boxing matches are shown at a variety of bars across town as well–another opportunity for fighting bettors to create communal atmospheres.
Washington, DC Sports Betting FAQs
18 and up. You must be at least 18 years old to bet online in Washington, DC. This goes for the GambetDC app, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill DC, and BetMGM DC. The 18 and up age restriction applies to both online and in-person sports betting in the district.
Yes, it is legal to bet on college sports in Washington, DC; however, it is illegal to bet on any DC college teams or to bet on a college game that takes place in the district. For example, it is legal to bet on the Maryland Terrapins but illegal to bet on the Georgetown Hoyas.
No, you do not need to be a resident of Washington, DC to bet online in the district. This applies to retail sportsbooks as well, such as the Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill Sportsbook at Capital One Arena. The only requirement is that you’re at least 18 years old.
Yes, you can bet on your iPhone in Washington, DC via legally licensed apps. The only app available everywhere in DC is the GambetDC app, powered by the DC Lottery. Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill is available within two blocks of Capital One Arena, and BetMGM is available within two blocks of Nationals Park.
Sort of. DraftKings DFS (daily fantasy sports) is legal in Washington, DC and is accessible to anyone over 18 in the state. However, DraftKings Sportsbook is not available in DC, nor are there any reported plans to launch the DraftKings sports betting app in the district.
Yes, FanDuel DFS (daily fantasy sports) is available in Washington, DC. FanDuel Sportsbook will also open at DC United’s Audi Field, and the FanDuel Sportsbook app will be available within two blocks of the stadium. The launch is expected sometime this year.
More Resources On Washington, DC Sports Betting
- DC Office of Lottery and Gaming – in charge of regulating sports betting as well as operating the GambetDC app.
- DC Law 22-312 – the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 in its entirety.
- Monthly Revenue Reports – for DC sports betting, usually released midway through the following month.
- More on the Repeal of PASPA that paved the way for legal sports betting in the district – and everywhere else in the US outside of Nevada.
- Virginia Sports Betting – your complete guide to betting on sports in VA.
- Maryland Sports Betting – your complete guide to betting on sports in MA.
- Washington, DC Sports News – courtesy of ABC 7’s WJLA.
- Subscribe to Gaming Today for the latest sports betting news, tips, and insights.