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Sports Betting Bill Will Bring Online Wagering to DC

January 4, 2019

The capitol city of the United States is now set to join the states that have legalized online sports betting. Late December 2018 saw the passage of a bill that will allow residents of Washington, D.C. to participate in legalized sports betting. The measure must now be approved by Congress where it is expected to receive bipartisan support. 

The wave of US states that have approved online gambling legislation continues to grow. It seems only fitting that the seat of government in the US would join the trend. The District of Columbia is technically not a state. Laws in the jurisdiction are subject first to approval by the Washington, D.C. mayor before being passed on to Congress. Mayor Muriel Bowser has been a supporter of online sports betting legislation since before the bill was first suggested. 

The bill would initially make it legal to wager on sports at one of four live venues that host the district's sports teams. This would then pave the way for licensing of Internet platforms where bettors could wager with a computer, phone, or tablet. RFK Stadium, the home of the Washington Redskins, is the sole exception to the live venues that will participate. The stadium is built on federal land, and this precludes its use for gambling. 

Overseeing the Washington sports betting operations will be the D.C. Lottery. The D.C. Lottery has vast experience providing lottery games to the district. Lawmakers seem to believe that the commission is in the best position to provide sports betting thanks to its existing gambling architecture. 

Both visitors and residents would be permitted to make sports wagers once the bill is signed into law. If online betting follows that which is being allowed at sports venues, only those residents of Washington, D.C. that are 21 years of age or older would be allowed to participate. 

The United States continues to embrace online and offline sports betting. For many years it has been legal for US citizens to bet on sports in Nevada, and now other states are hoping to add the revenues that are created by sports wagering and licensing.


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