Legal Blog

YouBet! DC Class B License Myths – Difference Between an Operator’s License and a Substantial Change

In May 2019, the District of Columbia formally legalized sports wagering in the District of Columbia.  Since that time, there has been an abundance of misinformation that has circulated about legal sports wagering and the rules and regulations that govern.  The purposes of this particular blog post, and the following three posts, is to debunk the myths that exist concerning a Class B Operator’s licenses in the District of Columbia.

The most frequent area of confusion is the difference between a sports wagering license, issued by the Office of Lottery and Gaming (“OLG”), and a Substantial Change Approval from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (“ABRA”).  The latter is an endorsement that a bar or restaurant receives on its liquor license that allows it to serve alcohol at a location that also allows sports gambling.  A bar that has received a substantial change on their liquor license is not allowed to offer sports wagering at its location.  The establishment still needs to obtain a Class B Operator’s license issued by OLG (a license to offer sports wagers) before it can accept a bet from its customers.  Frequently, bar owners and members of the media conflate these two forms of licenses – a license to offer sports betting vs. an endorsement that is a precondition to serving alcohol in a place that allows sports betting.  Understanding the difference between the two types of licensure is key to ensure that a Class B Operator (or a potential operator) is in compliance with the relevant regulations.

Please feel free to contact Ian Thomas at or Tracy Buck 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.









Tracy Buck holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from the University of Maryland, College Park and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.  While in law school, she was the Editor-in-Chief of the University of Maryland Law School’s Journal of Business and Technology Law as well as Vice President of the Business Law Society.  She practices real estate law, with a focus on foreclosure and litigation in the District of Columbia, where she has been litigating judicial foreclosures since the commencement of the judicial process in the District of Columbia.  Tracy is admitted to practice in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.








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