On Dec. 18, 2018, the DC council took a final vote on the legalization of DC sports betting, officially passing the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act (Bill 22-0944).
The bill was introduced in September and has gone through some changes, however, it currently permits sports betting to take place at four professional sports venues located in DC and allows the DC Lottery to regulate legal sports betting.
What Is In The DC Sports Betting Bill?
The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act would allow operators to apply for two sports betting licenses. The first license would allow these businesses to operate within facilities located at four of the city’s stadiums and arenas. These four locations are:
- Nationals Park
- Audi Field
- Capital One Arena
- St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena
The second license would allow sports betting at other locations, such as bars and restaurants. These locations must be at least two blocks away from the four locations associated with the first license.
The DC Lottery is in charge of regulating legal sports betting, and the Lottery may operate its own facilities. The DC Lottery is also in line to be the only mobiles sports betting app that will can be accessed off of a licensed facility. Therefore, the DC Lottery will be the only option for bettors who want to place a bet on their phone who are not in a licensed facility, such as their home.
DC would receive money from license fees and place a tax of 10 percent on a sports betting operator’s revenue. DC Chief Financial Officer, Jeffrey DeWitt, expects DC to take in about $92 million over the next four years. The money received will be put toward the NEAR Act, which is a violence prevention program and a new bill that expands affordable child care options. There will also be money that goes to fund treatment for gambling addiction.
The DC Lottery App And What It Offers
The DC Lottery offers several games including Powerball, Lucky For Life, Mega Millions, DC Keno, The Lucky One, Dc Fast Play, Race2Riches, Scratchers and Tap-n-Play. And although there is a Lottery app to allow users to find retailers, results and special offers, there is currently no way for users to buy tickets online. So although there is a DC Lottery mobile app, it will be interesting to see how the DC Lottery will handle players placing bets online.
DC Online Sports Betting Could Arrive As Early As Spring
DC does not have any land-based casinos, but that isn’t going to stop sports betting from being at the fingertips of every DC resident. According to the bill:
“A sports wagering operator license authorizes the operation of sports wagering at locations approved by the office and through any internet, mobile application or other digital platforms.”
A handful of councilmembers have expressed an urgency in getting a DC mobile app out on the market before Maryland sports betting or Virginia sports betting become legal.
An emergency measure was passed on Tuesday, allowing the bill will to become law almost immediately, allowing the DC Lottery to begin preparing regulations for sports betting.
DC sports betting follows in the footsteps of NJ sports betting, WV sports betting, PA sports betting, MS sports betting, RI sports betting and DE sports betting, which all became legal in 2018. It is speculated that DC sports betting will be live as soon as spring of next year.