A Complete Overview of Online Gambling in Washington D.C.

Real-money wagers and the District of Columbia just don’t go together very well right now, despite a few recent attempts to legalize online gambling. You won’t have access to casinos, horse tracks, dog racing or poker rooms. The main form of gambling there is charity-oriented gambling and the lottery. There’s also the option to play a little keno, too.

Michael A. Brown, a city councilman, proposed legislation in favour of online gambling in 2010, but the proposal was repealed in 2012. This was the first major attempt to include online gambling as part of the city’s infrastructure. As for brick-and-mortar casinos, there are none. However, DC residents are free to travel to neighboring states in order to enter a physical casino.

Furthermore, sports betting is possibly coming to the capital. A legal sports betting law passed at the start of 2019, permitting gamblers to access sportsbooks and mobile betting apps. It may be coming slowly, but there is definite progress.

Washington DC gambling overview:

  •   Year Washington DC regulated online gambling (sports betting)? : 2019
  •   Legal gambling age in Washington DC? : 18 (for Lottery)
  •   Number of legal online casinos in DC? : None
  •   Number of commercial casinos in DC? : None
  •   Number of tribal casinos? : None

Gambling in Washington DC: What’s legal?

In short, not much. With both forms of casinos being out of the picture, for now, gamblers there don’t have much variety when it comes to betting options. In theory, you can place a pari-mutuel bet or even an on-track bet, but there is a serious obstacle… There are no open racetracks in Washington DC (at the time of writing).

There’s one somewhat confusing consolation – playing a game of poker at home isn’t illegal. However, hosting such a game or winning/losing more than $25 via betting is.

This leaves only lottery, bingo, and Keno as legal forms of gambling. Lottery draws take place several times a day. Bingo games are held during charity events and Keno is found in a few locations. Online sports betting is expected to become available in July 2019.

That being said, there are plenty of nearby casinos to visit, if you wish to gamble. We’ve included some of them below:

Name Address Opening Hours Games Phone Number Website
MGM National Harbor 101 MGM National Drive, Oxon Hill, MD 20745 24/7 2,800+ Slots, Table Games, Poker +1 301-971-5000‎ mgmnationalharbor.mgmresorts.com/en.html
Horseshoe Baltimore 1525 Russell Street, Baltimore, MD 21230 24/7 2,200+ Slots, Table Games, Poker +1 844 777-SHOE www.caesars.com/horseshoe-baltimore
Live! Casino & Hotel 7002 Arundel Mills Cir #7777, Hanover, MD 21076 24/7 ~4,000 Slots, Table Games, Poker +1 855-5MD-LIVE www.livecasinohotel.com/
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races 100 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, WV 25414 24/7 2,500 slots, Table Games, Poker 1-800-795-7001 www.hollywoodcasinocharlestown.com/

Online Casinos in Washington DC: What you should know

All gambling was prohibited in Washington DC until the District Lottery was created in 1982. As we’ve mentioned, Michael A. Brown was the councilman who proposed the legalization of online gambling in 2010. The move was proposed with the aim of boosting the DC budget by bringing in online gambling fees and taxes. The project would involve 30 or more online gambling hotspots appearing in 2011. This proposal passed in front of the Committee on April 7, 2011 – initially. However, in February 2012, the Finance and Revenue Committee repealed the program on the grounds that it was “hidden” in the fine print. They also stated they hadn’t been given enough information about it.

As a result, online casinos aren’t legal in Washington DC. There is also limited space for building a casino in DC, so that’s another reason to support the current state of affairs. No slots, table games, or poker are available to DC players. Online sports betting is on the way to becoming legal, so that will be a sizeable addition to the permitted forms of gambling there. Until then, DC residents are free to play the Lottery or engage in gambling action during charity events, where all proceeds go to various causes.

How to choose the best online casino in Washington DC

As online casinos don’t operate in Washington DC, gamblers can travel to nearby states to join online casino rooms. Maryland, West Virginia, or even Atlantic City aren’t that far away. There are a number of reputable brick-and-mortar casinos there, too, so you’d have plenty of options. Keep in mind, some online casinos may accept players from the capital, but you aren’t allowed to play within Washington DC.

The bottom line on Washington DC online gambling

At present, there are limited gambling options in Washington DC. Although sports betting will be legal pretty soon, the DC Lottery will be in charge of it. This creates a sports betting monopoly for them, and the results for gamblers are unpredictable. You’d also only be able to bet through the DC Lottery app, which isn’t ideal.

It’s been almost a decade since steps were taken towards legalizing online gambling. As there are no online casinos operating in DC, there aren’t any options for residents in the city. Aside from the Lottery, there aren’t any major options when it comes to wagering in the district. The best approach to gambling is going to nearby states such as Maryland or West Virginia. Until further action is taken, online gambling in Washington DC will remain illegal.