Betting Law in District of Columbia

Betting Law in District of Columbia

The US Supreme Court passed a new law on 14th May 2018, making sports betting legal across states. The new decision finally put to an end the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) federal law, which banned such activity in 1992. While other states, like Delaware and New Jersey, took action immediately; the District

The US Supreme Court passed a new law on 14th May 2018, making sports betting legal across states. The new decision finally put to an end the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) federal law, which banned such activity in 1992. While other states, like Delaware and New Jersey, took action immediately; the District of Columbia is still a dry land when it comes to gambling, let alone sports betting.

Is sports betting legal in D.C.?

With so many talented local sports teams like the Washington Capitals, the Washington Wizards and the Washington Mystics; it’s almost surreal to admit that sports betting is still illegal in the District of Columbia. It has been so since the beginning of the 20th century, when the city’s congressional overlords prohibited it in the Washington’s criminal code and it remained like this, the only difference being that the current law mentions every sport category, including basketball, baseball, hockey and football. Here is the latest version of the law, as stated in 2016:

It shall be unlawful for any person, or association of persons, within the District of Columbia to purchase, possess, own, or acquire any chance, right, or interest, tangible or intangible, in any policy lottery or any lottery, or to make or place a bet or wager, accept a bet or wager, gamble or make books or pools on the result of any athletic contest. For the purpose of this section, the term “athletic contest” means any of the following, wherever held or to be held: a football, baseball, softball, basketball, hockey, or polo game, or a tennis, golf, or wrestling match, or a tennis or golf tournament, or a prize fight or boxing match, or a trotting or running race of horses, or a running race of dogs, or any other athletic or sporting event or contest. Any person or association of persons violating this section shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 180 days, or both.

However, in spite of the existent opposition, there are numerous powerful figures that are determined to take advantage of the opportunity given by the Supreme Court.  Ted Leonsis, the owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, thinks that this decision will bring a multibillion-dollar industry out of the shadows and consumers will be better protected. In addition, the District of Columbia Council member, Jack Evans, said that with the right support and after a closer examination of the situation, he’d ideally like to make a major change for sports betting in D.C by the end of the year.

Is online sports betting legal in D.C?

Although every state has gambling and sports betting on virtual platforms, the law is the law, which means that a bettor cannot place a legal bet in the District of Columbia. In 2010, Council of the District Michael A. Brown made a proposal to legalize online gambling, but two years later, the Finance and Revenue committee voted to repeal the program.

Alternative options to betting in the District of Columbia

Until the next move towards legalizing sports betting or any other forms of gambling apart from charity lottery; the District of Columbia gamblers and sports fans can enjoy the options offered by the nearby states, like Atlantic City, West Virginia and the State of Maryland, which is less than a mile away from the D.C and has approximately 15 casinos.

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