Legal Blog

You Bet!: A Guide to the Legalization of Sports Gambling in the District of Columbia – Part 2

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Location, location, location are the three words that drive the decision about where to open a business, and in deciding where to set up a sportsbook this is no exception. The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 restricts the geographic location in which a sportsbook can be physically located.  While the licensing regime set forth in the law will be discussed in more detail in future posts, the law provides two tiers operators licenses: Class A and Class B. Class A licenses will be issued only to the operator of a sports wagering facility located in one of the four major sports venues in the District of Columbia: Capitol One Arena (formerly the Verizon Center); Nationals Park; Audi Field; and Saint Elizabeth East Entertainment and Sports Arena. The law provides an exclusivity zone to each Class A licensee by prohibiting any other sports wagering facility from opening within a two-block radius.

All other operators’ licenses are categorized as Class B, and the rest of the city remains open to Class B licensees.  There are presently no other location restrictions contained in the legislation that was passed by the City Council.  However, there may be additional geographic restrictions that are contained in the regulations that are ultimately enacted by the D.C. Lottery, which is the administrative agency that has been tasked with implementation and oversight of the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act.

Moreover, those interested in participating in the sports betting industry should note that the new legislation does not only contemplate the existence of brick and mortar sportsbooks.  The law expressly anticipates electronic sportsbook options that can be used online and on mobile devices.  As such, while certain areas of the city have been carved out for D.C.’s major sports venues, there are limitless opportunities for both physical and electronic or mobile sportsbooks in the District of Columbia.

Please feel free to contact Ian Thomas at with any questions or interest about the industry.


ABOUT IAN THOMAS | 202-900-8592

Ian Thomas is an attorney in Offit Kurman’s Commercial Litigation practice group.  Ian likes to apply a “think-outside-the-box” approach to litigation, through which he seeks to find creative ways to resolve each legal issue that his clients face.  In applying this approach, Ian is able to identify a diverse and cost-effective set of options to resolve any legal problem that his clients encounter.”









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