The gambling outlook in Washington DC

The gambling landscape in Washington DC is as unpredictable as a roll of the dice. It's like a poker game where the rules keep changing. Sure, we've got online sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and lottery games, all under the watchful gaze of the DC Lottery. But if you're hunting for commercial casinos, horse tracks, or off-track betting facilities, you're going to come up empty-handed. It's similar to fishing in a dried-up pond.

Show more

📖 Published on: June 15th, 2023

✍️ Updated: 5 days ago

⏳ 25 mins read

Best Online Gambling Bonuses As Of June 2024

offer icon
No Deposit
10,000 Gold Coins + $10 Stake Cash review
gamblespot score
4.3 /5
Must be 21+. T&C Apply
Gambling in Washington DC image
Washington DC coat of arms image

The District isn't a barren wasteland when it comes to gambling. It's more like a patchy lawn, with some areas lush and green, and others as bare as a billiard ball. You can place your bets on sports, try your luck with the lottery, or even join in a charitable game or two. But if you're dreaming of hitting the slots or the blackjack tables, you're going to have to look beyond the city limits.So, to sum it up, the gambling scene in Washington DC is like a jigsaw puzzle with a few pieces missing. There's potential for a complete picture, but we're not quite there yet. Rome wasn't built in a day, and similarly, it takes more than a few drops to fill the bucket when building a full-fledged gambling industry.

Washington DC gambling laws and regulations

The regulatory landscape of gambling in Washington DC is a complex one. The DC Lottery, a government agency, is the primary authority in charge of regulating and overseeing most gambling activities within the district. This includes online sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and the lottery. The agency's role is to ensure that these activities are conducted in accordance with the law, protecting the interests of players and maintaining the integrity of the games.However, the situation becomes more complicated when it comes to online casinos. Currently, there are no specific regulations in place governing online casinos in Washington DC. This regulatory gap means that residents who wish to participate in online casino gambling are often left with no choice but to use offshore sites. These offshore sites operate outside of US jurisdiction and are not subject to the same regulatory standards as domestic operators.This lack of regulation for online casinos presents a significant challenge for players in Washington DC. Without clear regulations and oversight, players are left to navigate the online gambling landscape on their own, potentially exposing themselves to risks. It underscores the need for comprehensive and clear regulations that cover all forms of gambling, ensuring that players are protected and that operators are held to high standards of fairness and transparency.


What is considered as legal gambling

When it comes to legal gambling in Washington DC, the options are somewhat limited compared to other parts of the United States. Nevertheless, there remain various forms of gambling that are allowed within the district.Firstly, the DC Lottery is a significant player in the local gambling scene. This government-run lottery offers a variety of games, including draw games and instant games, which are all legal for residents and visitors to play. In addition to the lottery, charitable gaming is also legal in Washington DC. This includes games such as bingo and raffles, which are often organized by non-profit organizations as a means of raising funds for charitable causes.

Online sports betting is another legal form of gambling in the district. Multiple operators, such as Caesars Sports and BetMGM, provide online sports betting platforms, enabling individuals to place bets on a diverse array of sporting events.Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is also permitted in Washington DC. Major DFS operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, accept players from the district, allowing them to participate in daily and weekly fantasy sports contests.However, it's important to note that while these forms of gambling are legal, others, such as online casinos and poker, are not currently permitted in Washington DC.


What is considered as illegal gambling

In Washington DC, certain forms of gambling are explicitly prohibited. Online casinos, for instance, are not legal in the district. Although online sports betting and daily fantasy sports are allowed, online casino games such as slots, poker, and table games are not regulated. This often leads residents to use offshore online casinos, which operate outside of US jurisdiction and lack the regulatory oversight of legal gambling forms.Land-based casinos are also not legal in Washington DC.

The district does not have any commercial or tribal casinos, and there are no current plans to introduce them.Other forms of gambling that are not allowed in Washington DC include horse racing and off-track betting. Despite being legal in many other parts of the United States, these activities are not permitted within the district.In essence, while Washington DC does provide several legal gambling options, there are also many forms of gambling that are currently prohibited.


Legal age to gamble in Washington DC

In Washington DC, the age of majority is the key that unlocks the door to the world of gambling. The legal age to participate in any form of gambling, whether it's buying a lottery ticket, placing a bet on your favorite sports team, or participating in daily fantasy sports, is 18 years old. This age restriction is consistent with the rules in many other areas throughout the United States.However, it's important to note that while 18-year-olds can legally gamble in certain ways, other forms of gambling, such as online and land-based casinos, are not currently legal in the district. Therefore, even if someone is of legal age, they are still limited in the types of gambling they can participate in within Washington DC. As always, it's crucial for individuals to understand the laws and regulations in their area before participating in any form of gambling.

Real money casinos in Washington DC

When it comes to real money casinos in Washington DC, the landscape is rather barren. The district does not have any licensed online or land-based casinos where residents can play for real money. In contrast, many other regions of the United States boast a thriving casino gambling industry.

Washington DC

Nonetheless, this doesn't imply that Washington DC residents are left without any choices. A considerable number of people choose to participate in offshore online casinos that enthusiastically welcome players from the United States. These sites present an extensive selection of casino games, such as slots, table games, poker, and various other options. It's important to note, though, that these offshore sites operate outside of US jurisdiction and are not subject to the same regulatory standards as legal forms of gambling. Therefore, while they may offer real money casino games, they also come with a higher level of risk.


Online casinos

In Washington DC, the online casino scene is rather sparse. There are no locally regulated online casinos, leaving residents with limited options. It's akin to having a thirst for action but no venue to quench it.However, residents aren't entirely without choices. Many resort to offshore online casinos that welcome US players. These platforms offer a broad spectrum of casino games, from slots and blackjack to roulette and poker. It's like having a slice of Las Vegas available at your fingertips.But there's a catch: these offshore sites operate outside of US jurisdiction, meaning they aren't subject to the same regulations as legal gambling forms. It's somewhat like playing a game where the rules aren't fully defined. So, while online casinos may be accessible for DC residents, they come with their own set of considerations and potential risks.


Land-based casinos

In Washington DC, the search for land-based casinos is akin to a wild goose chase. The district is void of any physical casinos, leaving those who enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of a casino floor in a bit of a bind.It's like stepping into an amusement park, only to find all the rides are closed. There are no roulette wheels in motion, no blackjack dealers shuffling cards, no slot machines chiming. It's a stark contrast to many other regions in the country where casinos are as common as hot dogs at a baseball game.However, this doesn't mean that residents are entirely out of options. Many venture to neighboring states like Maryland and Pennsylvania, where land-based casinos are legal and abundant. It's a bit of a journey, but for those with a taste for casino excitement, it's a trip worth taking.


Tribal casinos

In Washington DC, the story of tribal casinos is a short one. In fact, it's non-existent. The district doesn't have any tribal lands, and therefore, no tribal casinos. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack, except there's no needle.This is a stark contrast to many other parts of the United States, where tribal casinos play a significant role in the local economy and the gambling scene. It's like having a poker game without any cards.However, for those with a hankering for the unique atmosphere of a tribal casino, there are options just a stone's throw away. Nearby states like Maryland and North Carolina are home to several tribal casinos. It might require a bit of a road trip, but for casino enthusiasts, the journey could be well worth the effort.


Shipboard and floating casinos

For those seeking shipboard or floating casinos in Washington DC, you'll find the waters here are uncharted. Despite its location along the Potomac River, the district doesn't offer any water-based gambling venues. It's akin to launching a boat without a rudder.This stands in contrast to other regions in the country, where riverboat casinos add a unique flavor to the local gambling scene. It's like having a stage without a performance. However, for those with a penchant for water-based gambling, there are alternatives beyond the district's borders. States such as Louisiana and Illinois are known for their riverboat casinos, offering a distinctive backdrop for a night of wagering. It might necessitate a bit of a journey, but for those who appreciate the allure of a floating casino, it could be an expedition worth undertaking.



In the race for racinos, Washington DC is still at the starting gate. The district doesn't have any racinos - those unique hybrids of racetracks and casinos. It's like having a ticket to a show that's not playing.This is quite different from many other parts of the country, where racinos offer a one-two punch of racing action and casino gaming. However, for those with a need for speed and a taste for slots, there are options just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Nearby states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia have several racinos where you can enjoy the thrill of the races and the excitement of the casino floor. It might require a bit of a drive, but for racino enthusiasts, the journey could be well worth the effort.

Off-track betting

In Washington DC, off-track betting or simulcast racing is as rare as a royal flush. The district doesn't offer any off-track betting facilities or racinos, leaving horse racing enthusiasts at the starting gate. It's like having a racehorse with no track to run on.

This is quite different from many other parts of the country, where off-track betting facilities and racinos offer a mix of horse racing action and casino gaming. It's like having a winning hand but no poker table to play on.

However, for those with a love for the races, there are options just a short drive away. Nearby states like Maryland and West Virginia have several off-track betting facilities and racinos. It might require a bit of a road trip, but for horse racing enthusiasts, the journey could be well worth the effort.

Sports betting in Washington DC

In the arena of sports betting, Washington DC has hit a grand slam. The district has thrown its hat into the ring of online sports betting, making it a legal pastime for both residents and visitors. It's like having a courtside seat to the action-packed world of sports.

Currently, the district plays host to several online sports betting platforms. Big hitters like Caesars Sports, BetMGM, and the DC Lottery's own GambetDC are all stepping up to the plate, offering a wide range of options for sports enthusiasts looking to back their favorite teams or events.

However, it's crucial to bear in mind that while online sports betting is legal, it's still a fresh face in the district's gambling lineup. As such, bettors should make it their business to understand the rules and regulations of the game. After all, it's always best to know the lay of the land before you start placing bets.

So, whether you're a seasoned sports bettor or a rookie looking to get a piece of the action, Washington DC provides a legal and regulated playing field for online sports betting. It's a home run for sports fans in the district.

Washington DC sports betting

Social casinos

In the bustling hub of Washington DC, social casinos have found a unique place in the gambling ecosystem. These platforms, which don't involve real-money wagering, have gained popularity among residents seeking the thrill of casino games without the financial stakes.

In DC, social casinos provide an extensive range of games, ranging from slot machines and table games to scratch cards and jackpot slots. They also provide a distinctive social gaming experience, enabling players to engage in friendly competition with friends and other global players. Some even feature live dealer games, enhancing the gaming experience with a touch of realism.

The standout feature of social casinos is their accessibility. Being online platforms, they can be reached from any corner of the district, at any hour. This ease of access, coupled with the excitement of casino gaming, has made social casinos a favorite among DC residents.

Furthermore, these platforms often roll out attractive bonuses for new players. While these bonuses are usually in the form of virtual currency, they serve as a motivation for players to sign up and start playing.

Even without real-money betting, social casinos in DC have fostered a lively and thriving player community. They've demonstrated that the excitement of casino gaming doesn't necessarily require real money wagers. Whether you're a seasoned gambler or a novice, social casinos in DC offer a fun and risk-free avenue to indulge in your preferred casino games.

Daily fantasy sports

In the sports-crazed city of Washington DC, daily fantasy sports (DFS) have hit the bull's-eye. Big hitters like DraftKings and FanDuel have found a receptive audience in the district, offering residents a platform to showcase their sports knowledge and strategic thinking. While there's no specific rulebook governing DFS, these platforms operate in a legal gray area. They're not explicitly sidelined, which allows them to serve DC's sports enthusiasts.

This has cultivated a thriving DFS scene in the city, with a roster of sports including football, basketball, and baseball.However, it's crucial to differentiate DFS from traditional sports betting. Instead of betting on game outcomes, players draft virtual teams of real athletes. The real-world performance of these athletes dictates the DFS contest results.So, while DC may not have slot machines or poker tables, it offers a unique gambling alternative with DFS. It's a different ball game that merges sports knowledge with strategic team building. Given DC's passion for sports, it's no wonder DFS has found a loyal following.

Washington DC daily fantasy sports


Bingo, a long-standing favorite among many, holds its own in the gambling landscape of Washington DC. While the city may not be overflowing with bingo halls, the game has found a comfortable home in charitable events. Non-profit organizations often host bingo nights, offering residents a chance to have fun while supporting a good cause.

However, it's not just about charity bingo. The DC Lottery has also embraced the game, offering a variety of bingo-based lottery games. These games provide an easy and accessible way for residents to enjoy a quick round of bingo, with the added thrill of potentially hitting the jackpot.

But what about online bingo? Well, the waters are a bit murky there. While there are no regionally-licensed online bingo platforms in DC, residents can still participate in online bingo games through offshore platforms. These platforms, while not regulated by DC authorities, offer a wide range of bingo games and are accessible to DC residents.

So, whether you're a fan of traditional bingo halls, enjoy the convenience of lottery games, or prefer the digital world of online bingo, Washington DC has got you covered.


In the world of poker, Washington DC is a bit of a wild card. The city doesn't have any homegrown online poker sites, but that doesn't mean poker aficionados are left folding their hands. Sweepstakes poker platforms, like Global Poker, have stepped into the breach. These sites, while not under DC's regulatory umbrella, offer round-the-clock cash games, tournaments, and sit and go's. You can go head-to-head with fellow Americans in games like Texas Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, and even the less common Crazy Pineapple.

But if you're hankering for the buzz of a traditional poker room, you'll need to hit the road. Your best bet is the MGM National Harbor in neighboring Maryland, where a full suite of poker games awaits.

As for the future of online poker in DC, it's a waiting game. The city is still ironing out the wrinkles in its sports betting scene, and it's likely that any move into online poker would follow a similar trajectory. Until then, DC's poker players will have to play the hand they're dealt.

Gambling tips

When it comes to gambling in Washington DC, it's not just about the roll of the dice, but how you play the game. Here are some tips straight from the horse's mouth:

  1. Get your ducks in a row: Whether you're laying down a sports bet, stepping up to the plate in daily fantasy sports, or trying your luck at charity bingo, make sure you've got the rules down pat. It's like knowing the playbook before you hit the gridiron.
  2. Don't bet the farm: Gambling should be a source of fun, not a financial fumble. Set a budget for your gambling activities and stick to it like a quarterback sticks to his game plan.
  3. Do your homework: If you're betting on sports or playing DFS, take the time to study the teams, players, and stats. It's like watching a game film - the more you know, the better you'll perform.
  4. Slow and steady wins the race: Winning at gambling isn't about making a quick buck, it's about making smart decisions over time. Don't chase losses or bet more than you can afford to lose. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint.
  5. Enjoy the ride: Whether you're playing online or at a charity event, remember to enjoy the game. After all, the thrill of the play is what gambling is all about.

The history

The history of gambling in Washington DC is a tale of slow but steady progress. The city, known more for its political prowess than its gaming gusto, has gradually opened its doors to various forms of gambling. The DC Lottery, established in 1982, was the first legal form of gambling in the city, raising billions for the General Fund and supporting public services like education and housing.The real game-changer came in 2018, when the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act was passed, legalizing both in-person and online sports betting.

This move put DC on the map as a city that was ready to roll the dice and embrace the potential of the gambling industry. The law allowed for retail sportsbooks at bars and stadiums, mobile betting within two blocks of stadiums, and citywide mobile betting powered by the DC Lottery.Despite these advancements, the city's gambling scene is still in its infancy. Online poker sites and casinos remain illegal, and there are no indications lawmakers are planning to change that. However, with the city surrounded by gambling-friendly states and numerous casinos within driving distance, the future of gambling in Washington DC is a story that's still being written.


The future

Looking down the road at the future of gambling in Washington D.C., it's clear we're still in the early innings. At present, D.C. residents are playing ball with offshore online casinos, as there are no locally-licensed online casinos in the capital. These offshore casinos aren't just playing in the sandlot, they're bringing their A-game with a full lineup of options like slot machines, table games, scratch cards, jackpot slots, video poker, and live dealer games. Some even swing for the fences by offering a sportsbook or online poker room. And let's not forget the bonuses, especially for those who step into the box with cryptocurrencies.

Speaking of cryptocurrencies, they're hitting it out of the park at these offshore casinos. Some casinos are so on the ball they offer up to 16 types of altcoins, including Bitcoin. In the legal ballpark, D.C. was once the leadoff hitter, being the first to legalize real-money online casino-style games in 2011. But the game changed, and the act was repealed in 2012. So, for now, D.C. residents are left to swing for the fences with offshore sites for their gambling needs.As we look to the future, it's clear that we're still in the early innings for D.C.'s gambling scene. Changes in legislation, tech advancements, and shifts in public sentiment will continue to change the game. It's a safe bet that the future will bring new opportunities and challenges for D.C.'s gamblers.

Responsible gaming in Washington DC

In the heart of the nation's capital, Washington DC, responsible gambling is a topic that's taken seriously. The city offers a variety of resources for those dealing with addiction. The National Council on Problem Gambling, headquartered in DC, is a prime resource, offering a 24-hour helpline for anyone needing advice on how to proceed. The call is confidential and free, connecting individuals with trained counselors who can assess their situation and provide a list of treatment options.

Peer groups also offer support. Organizations like Gamblers Anonymous provide relief for thousands of problem gamblers through fellowship and accountability with other addicts. Family members of problem gamblers can find support through Gamblers Anonymous’ sister organization, Gam-Anon. Gamtalk, an online community for problem gamblers, is another resource.

The DC Lottery maintains a self-exclusion program, which allows individuals to place themselves on a list barring them from playing any games under lottery oversight. This includes sports betting and lottery games. The self-exclusion program allows for exclusion periods of one year up to a permanent ban. It's a severe step, but for those certain they cannot stop gambling, it might be the best option.


What is the legality of online gambling in Washington DC?

Well, it's a bit of a mixed bag in the nation's capital. While online sports betting has crossed the finish line, online casinos are still waiting at the starting gate. So, if you're looking to play poker or spin the roulette wheel online, you're currently out of luck in Washington DC.

How does Washington DC regulate online gambling sites?

The DC Lottery is the umpire in this game. They're the ones calling the shots, ensuring all online gambling activities are above board. If a new player steps onto the field, you can bet the DC Lottery will be there to check their credentials.

Can I use a VPN to gamble online from Washington DC?

Technically, you could use a VPN to access online gambling sites from other states or countries. But remember, you'd be skating on thin ice. It's a gray area legally, and you could find yourself in a pickle if you're caught. So, my advice? Play it safe and stick to the legal options available.

Are there any legal online casinos in Washington DC?

Currently, the chips aren't falling in favor of online casinos in Washington DC. While sports betting and daily fantasy sports are in play, online casinos are still on the bench. But keep your ear to the ground, because the game could change at any moment.

Katarina Oakshore
Editor | Casinos and Gambling

Are you sure?

This will delete all chat history, and I will not remember what we were talking about.

Todays Hot Deals