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Washington DC Sports Betting: BetMGM, Caesars, FanDuel Live Online

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 4 mins

Washington DC Sports Betting: BetMGM, Caesars, FanDuel Live Online

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

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Washington D.C. became the nation’s newest competitive online sports betting market on Wednesday when three operators launched District-wide. FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM D.C. launched online during the morning and early afternoon. 

FanDuel told bookies.com it went live just after 11 a.m. Wednesday. Caesars was up around 1 p.m., with BetMGM's following an hour later.

The operators are each subject to restrictions around certain federal sites. And they each hold exclusives within the boundaries of the stadiums/arenas in which their partners play. For Caesars, that would be Capital One Arena (Capitals). For BetMGM, it's Nationals Park. FanDuel has its deal with DC United and Audi Field.

Mayor Muriel Bowser returned the FY 2025 budget to the District council unsigned last Tuesday night, and the Office of Lottery and Gaming gave operators the official go-ahead Wednesday morning. 

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That budget included a law that allows the expansion of online betting outside of the DC Lottery. FanDuel, which had exclusively partnered with the DC Lottery,  shuttered its online app in the District briefly before the relaunch as a Class A operator in partnership with DC United. 

The passage of a new budget by the D.C. Council last month opened the door for up to 7 new online operators in the nation’s capital. The period for Bowser to sign the budget began on Monday. In the interim, DC Lottery director Frank Suarez resigned in June - effective July 31 - from his position to take job as head of the Connecticut Lottery.

BetMGM and Caesars operate brick-and-mortar books in DC. The BetMGM retail book at Nationals Park is now open to fans over 21 during games. Caesars plays host to a 20,000-square-foot retail book at Capital One Arena. 

Officials from other books offered their support for the new legislation. 

DraftKings thanked the Council “for taking a major step towards expanding mobile sports betting options in the District by approving changes to the District’s sports wagering framework as part of the Budget Support Act. We look forward to the potential opportunity to introduce D.C. sports fans to our mobile sportsbook product.”

Fanatics, ESPN BET, and BetRivers are expected to seek licenses once they become available. Would-be operators in Washington must be live and licensed in no fewer than five other U.S. jurisdictions. 

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Washington DC’s New Sports Betting Law 

The Council’s FY 2025 budget was unanimously approved via emergency rules in June, allowing it to bypass Congressional approval. 

The Sports Wagering Act of 2024 creates a new betting license freed from control by the D.C. Lottery. Up to 7 professional sports franchises will be allowed to partner with online operators. 

FanDuel’s president told the City Council that it may leave the District if it were to lose its monopoly through the Lottery. That argument failed to materialize. The D.C. Lottery switched to FanDuel as its operator earlier this year. 

The Sports Wagering Act boosts the tax on retail books to 20%, doubling the current rate. The new Type-C online operators would pay a rate of 30% of their gross gaming revenue. Licenses will cost $2 million for 5 years. And $1 million per 5-year period thereafter. 

Washington’s population of 671,803 according to the 2022 U.S. Census makes it larger than two states with online betting: Vermont and Wyoming.

The expansion of online betting is expected to deliver another $5 million per year to the District in revenue. the Council said. 

Each of the 7 professional franchises located within the Washington District limits would be able to partner with a sports book. They are the Washington Capitals
 (NHL), Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Nationals (MLB), D.C. United (MLS), D.C. Defenders (UFL), Washington Spirit (NWSL) and Washington Mystics (WNBA). 

The NFL Washington Commanders play their home games in Landover, Maryland. 

Council members also approved an amendment that protects small businesses that operate betting kiosks under the current system. If FanDuel no longer wishes to partner with the District, other operators would be free to step in and manage the kiosks. 

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About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.