It may have been a rather turbulent road, but the District of Columbia is now one of the most recent states to have legalized sports betting. This is a major change for both physical casinos and online casinos alike, and we are keeping a close eye on how this will all unfold.
District of Columbia Betting Apps
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Live DC sports betting sites
As it currently stands, there is one sole operator that has been given the right to offer online sports betting services in DC – Intralot. Although while they may have the license, nothing has emerged as of yet that resembles an online sportsbook.
Intralot must have been thanking their lucky stars when this deal was first put together, as it was initially made between DC Lottery and Intralot for a rumored value of more than $200 million. Despite a superior court judge in the form of Joan Zeldon blocking the deal almost as quickly as it was put together, it has now emerged that Intralot is still the sole operator able to offer sports betting in DC.
Do note that this sportsbook is not currently live, it merely has the license to go live, which already puts them in pole position for sports betting services in the District of Columbia.
Intralot may firmly be in first place in the race to get online in the District of Columbia, but let us tell you, they have a solid rival biting at their heels. This rival comes in the form of William Hill, who already has somewhat of a presence in DC, even if it isn’t in the form of an online sportsbook yet.
William Hill – Not yet live in DC
The reason that we are only listing William Hill as one of the ‘planned launches’ is that they have already filed for a license in DC. This is the only brand that has done this so far, and given the current economic climate, we have to say that this isn’t a surprise. William Hill has licenses for a total of 10 jurisdictions in DC already, which gives them a huge advantage over other applicants.
Since William Hill already holds these licenses in DC, there is a provision in the sports betting laws that will allow them to obtain a provisional license. The red tape in place to get a provisional license is far less in DC than what is required to gain a full license. Essentially, this means William Hill can get the sports betting license through in just 45 days.
We can confirm that William Hill already applied for this license in December 2019, but things have naturally been held up due to the current state of sports betting on a global scale. Once things do settle down, we are fairly confident that William Hill will join Intralot online rather quickly.
Besides William Hill, there are no other providers that have hinted at filing an online sports betting application. We’ve looked at the possible reasons for this in the legal sections of this article.
District of Columbia casinos that have sportsbooks
Those who live in the District of Columbia will already know this, but there are no casinos anywhere in the state, so betting at physical casinos is entirely out of the question. This was always the case, even before sports betting was legalized, so players will still not be able to make sports bets at any physical casino.
That being said, DC sportsbooks are looking like they could be found at several other venues – let us explain. Firstly, through class A licenses, sports arenas could actually contain their own sportsbooks. Arenas like Audi Field and the Capital One Arena are likely candidates, but licenses do cost $250,000. On the plus side, after paying this fee, these arenas can have a sportsbook in operation for 5 years.
Then there are class B licenses, that could be granted to hotels, bars, and restaurants. These places won’t have fully-fledged sportsbooks, but they will be allowed to take on some form of sports bets. To get one of these licenses costs $50,000, and again, this is valid for 5 years.
The governing authority (DC Lottery) has been keeping its cards to its chest concerning how many of these licenses could be granted, but at least these locations provide an alternative to physical casinos!
Evolution of sports betting in DC
Back in 2018, a battle started to rage within the DC District, as a major overhaul concerning sports betting was brought to the attention of major governors. Interestingly, it wasn't the first time that sports betting had been discussed at great length in the District of Columbia. The first attempt at legalizing sports betting actually came in 1989, although clearly, this attempt was unsuccessful.
If you fast forward almost 30 years later, to December 2018, this is when sports betting finally received approval in DC. It wasn't without its issues however, as major operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel also got involved to protest for multiple betting licenses to be issued. The DC lottery ultimately went against the wishes of these two betting giants, which is why today it is only Intralot who holds a license, all thanks to their close relationship with the DC Council.
Following the approval of sports betting in December 2018, fans all over the state were hopeful that the first online sportsbooks would be around in the spring of 2019. Well, things haven't quite gone to plan, as here we are in 2020, and the first legal sportsbooks in the District of Columbia are yet to make an appearance. It is absolutely the case that global events have disrupted the speed at which the sportsbooks will come to market, but unfortunately, this doesn't take away the frustration that sports fans in DC must be feeling.
Key sports betting laws in DC
There haven't been too many laws set out in black and white by DC Lottery, who is the governing body for sports betting in DC right now. However, there are a few which we can inform you of right here.
- Gambling age
This is an extremely interesting one, given that the gambling age in the District of Columbia is lower than in all other states in the USA. The DC lottery proclaims that anyone over the age of 18 will be able to bet on sports. In other states where sports betting has been legalized, nobody can place any wagers or have a betting account under the age of 21.
- Tax rate
While the gambling age is different in the District of Columbia, the issue of taxation on sports betting revenues isn't. As it currently stands, sports betting operators will be taxed at a fixed 10% rate for all revenues resulting from sports betting. This is actually much lower than what we've seen in other states, which is, of course, advantageous for the provider.
Given that there are no physical casinos anywhere in DC, the majority of sports bets will be made through an online sportsbook or a mobile app. Due to geolocation restrictions, you will likely not be able to place a sports bet if you are trying to do so outside of DC borders. Please note that this hasn't been confirmed yet, but it's something that has been implemented in many other states.
Not all sports bets will have to be made online due to the varying betting licenses available in DC, which we will get to right now.
- Betting licenses
Besides the main sports betting license, which only Intralot have right now, there will be two other classes of licenses that institutions can get. The first is a class A betting license, which can be granted to major sporting arenas for a fee of $250,000. This then permits the arena to take on sports bets for 5-years.
The second is a class B betting license where hotels, restaurants, and bars may purchase a license for just $50,000, and it will again be in place for 5-years. There are actually three bars that have already filed to obtain one of these licenses – The Brig, Wet Dog Tavern, and Duffy’s Irish Pub.
Additional info on the District of Columbia sports betting market
Major sports/leagues open for sports betting in DC
The terms and conditions regarding what betting market will be open as well as what sports are available have not been officially published yet, but based on other states, we feel we can hazard a pretty good guess. It is extremely likely that sportsbooks hitting the DC market will have NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA, MLS, and MLB all available as these are the most popular sports in North America.
We don't think that the sportsbooks will be limited to just these leagues, as there is a growing demand for betting markets on sports that take place overseas. Therefore, we would also expect betting markets for golf, tennis, boxing, horse racing, and several other sports that are played all over the world. Needless to say, each individual sportsbook will have its own set of sports that you can wager on.
Are there any sports that are banned?
Once again, given that the official documents concerning what sports and leagues will be available and what won't be haven’t been published, we cannot provide 100-percent accurate information. With that being said, it is extremely likely that legal sportsbooks in DC will follow a similar pattern for sportsbooks from other states. For that reason, the following sports could be restricted:
- NCAA events involving DC Colleges
This has already been restricted in many other states where sports betting is now legal. From the perspective of the governing authorities, they have restricted these events due to the potential of fraudulent results, which of course, would damage the ethics and integrity of sports betting. Please note that this also hasn't been confirmed yet, but it would seem to be one of the more likely restrictions once the sportsbooks do go live.
For those that aren't too sure what esports is, it is a form of competition whereby video gamers get together and compete with other teams from all over the world. This is actually a booming industry right now, however, sports betting regulators from all over the USA are approaching this sport with caution. There are far more states that have restricted esports than those that have approved it, and we would think that in the initial phases, DC will likely be on the restricted side of this equation.
- High school competitions
This hasn't been put down in writing it, but we can almost assure you that there will be no betting markets for high school competitions. It is extremely difficult to monitor the integrity and fair play practices of high school competitions, not to mention the fact that all of the sports have minors participating in them. There are just too many things that can go wrong concerning high school betting markets, which is why this has been restricted nationwide as it stands.
Main sports bets
It is an exciting time knowing that the first sportsbooks in DC are coming, but you must also know what kind of sports bets you will be able to place. Of course, given that there aren't any online sportsbooks yet, we can't provide this information with certainty, but we can say that the following are highly likely to be included.
Over/under bets are extremely common in the USA, mainly because they are so popular. There are tons of variations to these markets, and they will typically be tailored to certain points or other factors in a game. For example, you could bet that LeBron James would score over 30 points in a basketball game. Alternatively, you could bet that Manchester United would score ‘under’ (fewer than) 2.5 goals in a Premier League game – the range of markets really are endless for this bet.
Parlay bets are also popular for a number of reasons. Primarily, parlay bets provide the opportunity for massive returns for just a small amount of money, although the chances of winning are extremely slim. When making a parlay bet, you are essentially combining multiple different markets into one long betting slip, and the odds for each market are multiplied together. This is why the returns can be so high, but you do need to predict every outcome correctly to win anything at all.
While over/under markets are tied to a specific outcome of a sporting event, spread markets are different as they work as a handicap style bet. Here you are betting on how one team performs against another. For example, you may want to bet that the Toronto Raptors will beat the Milwaukee Bucks by more than 12.5 points – this is a spread bet. Whoever the favorite for the game is, the odds will be presented with a negative symbol in front of them. Alternatively, whoever the underdog is, these will be presented with a positive symbol in front of them.
Moneyline bets are by far the easiest to understand, and these are the fundamental markets of any sportsbook. When you make a moneyline bet, you are quite literally betting on the winner of an event. The only exception is when there is a possibility of a draw, and if there is, you can also make a moneyline bet for this market. Just like the other markets, the more favored a team or individual is, the lower the odds that you will get.
It hasn't actually been confirmed yet whether in-play betting will be allowed in the District of Columbia, so this is the most speculative of all these options. However, if in-play betting is permitted in the end, you will be able to bet on sports while they are taking place. Many sports bettors like to do this as they can get odds that they may not have seen through the pre-match markets.
Opening an account with a DC sportsbook
Once the DC sportsbooks do become live, it is only natural that you will need to open an account in order to make any sports bets. In order to do this, you will be required to go to the homepage of the sports betting provider and proceed to follow the steps necessary to open an account. Regardless of the provider that you choose, you will be asked to give details including your DC address, contact number, email, gender, date of birth, and your full name.
You will likely be able to do this from both a desktop platform and a mobile app where available. In addition to providing these details, you may be required to verify them through sending proof of address and proof of ID to whichever sportsbook you sign up for.
Making a bet in a casino
Normally, we would be able to give very clear instructions concerning how you can place a bet in a physical casino. However, you will have noticed through the information given in this article that the District of Columbia does not have any physical casinos. Therefore, if you do want to place any wagers for either casino games or sports, you will have to do so via an online platform.
Betting online and via mobile
When you are ready to place your very first sports bets online, you will need to run through a couple of steps. First of all, you will have to open an account with a legal and licensed sports betting provider. This is how you gain access to sports betting markets in the first place, so this is an essential step.
Once you do have a betting account established, you must then make a deposit into your account so that you can place any real money wagers. If a sportsbook does have a mobile site or better still, a mobile app, you will also be able to do this from these platforms. We can't say for sure what the deposit minimums will be, but as a rough estimate, you may need to deposit at least $5 into your account.
After you have successfully completed these two steps, you can then bet on any sporting market that is listed in the sportsbook. There are no restrictions here at all, so take your time and find a market that looks desirable before rushing to place any bet.
FAQs – 2020 sportsbooks DC
Will all sportsbooks have a mobile app that I can download?
Unfortunately not, as this will solely depend on whether the sportsbook you sign up with has decided to develop a mobile app. You can usually find this out before signing up to a platform, which we would encourage you to do if mobile gaming is one of your priorities.
How will I know what sports are available?
When you visit a sportsbook online, you will usually see a list of sports on the left-hand side of the page. You don't even need to sign up to see what sports a platform has available.
Will I be able to bet on sports and live stream events from the same platform?
Once again, we cannot give a definitive answer on this. There are sportsbooks across the USA that support live streaming and sports betting, but given that the first sportsbooks haven't hit the DC market yet, it is a bit early to say.
What are the benefits of verifying my account?
In some cases, you may not have a choice whether to verify your account or not. There are sportsbooks out there that require verification for every single account that they take on. If they do not, however, it is still worthwhile to verify your account when you get the chance. This will prevent the chance of any account restrictions or worse, suspensions due to unverified details.
Once you have taken the time to verify your account, some sportsbooks will even process withdrawals quicker as a direct result of this. This is obviously advantageous, as waiting to get your money from any sportsbook can be a frustrating process.