Washington D.C. Casinos

Written by: Cliff Spiller, Online Casino and Game Expert
Washington D.C. Casinos & Gambling
  • Lottery (1982)
  • $84 million
  • $225 million
  • 18
  • Washington D.C. does not permit smoking in any business not related to tobacco
  • No forms legal

There are no Washington D.C. casinos and there is only very  limited gambling, and it may be because it is the capital of the United States. It is mostly an urban city without any real estate to place casino resorts or racetracks. The only form of legal gambling in Washington D.C. is the lottery. Local drawings are held multiple times each day. There are also three interstate lotto drawings. Keno and lottery terminals are also available.

Washington D.C. gambling is non-existent, but its residents can find casinos nearby. Maryland and West Virginia have casinos and racetracks. Atlantic City is a just a three-hour drive away.

Types of Washington D.C. Online Gambling Allowed

No online gamblingThere are no forms of legal online gambling in Washington D.C. Horse racing is available over the Internet in a majority of states, but not in Washington D.C. The District Lottery does not sell lottery tickets over the Internet. It tried in 2011, but the city council repealed it in 2012 before it ever went live.

Online casino gambling sites with poker and sports betting sites are illegal in Washington D.C. The companies that take that action are unlicensed. Like lottery tickets, the attempt to regulate online poker and casino games were repealed.

Daily fantasy sports sites claim that their contests are games of skill and Washington D.C.’s gaming law does not apply. FanDuel, DraftKings, CBS Sports, and Yahoo! are among the daily fantasy sites that accept players from Washington D.C.

Types of Live Gambling Allowed in Washington D.C.

Popular games iconPopular Games
  • Casino Games: No
  • Horses: No
  • Lottery: Yes

The only form of legal gambling allowed in Washington D.C. is through the District Lottery. Scratch-off tickets, lotto drawings, keno, and video lottery terminals are all legal. Keno is held every four minutes from 6am to 2am daily. Video lottery terminals are basically scratch-off tickets in video form. There is no poker or keno on the games.

The Washington D.C. Lottery controls charitable gambling. These nonprofit groups must register with the lottery to spread bingo, raffle drawings or casino nights.

Washington D.C. casino gamblers that want to place a few bets will have to look elsewhere. Racinos are available in both Maryland and West Virginia.

Washington DC gambling lawsThe District Lottery is the only group that may spread or license gambling. Expansion does not require a citywide referendum. The minimum gambling age in Washington D.C. is 18 years.

Charities are permitted to spread bingo games, raffles and Monte Carlo nights. These Washington D.C. casino nights may include house banked games or Texas Hold’em. Nonprofit organizations must be in existence for at least one year and based on Washington D.C. to qualify for bingo and casino nights. Virginia and Maryland nonprofit organizations may sell raffle tickets in the District of Columbia. A minimum of 20 members is required, except for senior groups, where only 10 cardholders are needed to qualify as a charity.

Washington D.C. casinos, bookmaking, and unlicensed poker games are specifically illegal. Participation in illegal gambling is a misdemeanor.

List of Washington D.C. Casinos

There are more than 100 lottery retailers in Washington D.C. All sell instant game and lotto tickets. A handful of these establishments offers digital real money keno drawings every four minutes. Many of the keno outlets have digital instant games. There are some bingo nights and charity poker tournaments. These are not weekly events.

As stated above, those Washington D.C. casino enthusiasts will have to find their live gambling in the nearby states. You can head over to the Maryland casinos page for those that live nearby, or to the West Virginia casinos page. Resident can also take a quick 3-hour drive to the famous Atlantic City casinos located in New Jersey.

Guide to Washington D.C. Casinos Map

No casinos in Washington DC
Top Washington D.C. Casinos
  • None
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

Washington D.C. Gambling History

Washington DC casinos historyAll gambling was illegal in Washington D.C. until 1982. That is when the District Lottery was created. To this day, it is the only form of legalized gambling in the District of Columbia. The Washington D.C. Lottery also oversees charitable gambling, which is negligible in terms of revenue.

On April 7, 2011, the Washington D.C. City Council approved online poker and casino games as part of the lottery. This was one week before Black Friday, which put the three largest poker sites that accepted Americans – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker – out of the market. The measure was attached to a budget and was never debated. Washington D.C. was the first state to legalize any form of online gambling in the country beyond horseracing.

Online Washington D.C. casinos and poker games would have been available to players 20 hours a day. Congress had the ability to veto the bill within 30 days of passage, as is the case with all laws that come from the Washington D.C. City Council. It failed to do so.

Councilman Michael A. Brown was behind the bill. Accusations of unethical activity were aimed at Brown. After multiple hearings throughout the District of Columbia on the topic of regulated online gambling, the city council repealed the regulation in February 2012. Nevada would become the first state to launch regulated online poker in April 2013. Delaware was the first to go live with fully legal casino games in November 2013.

Washington D.C. Casinos & Gambling FAQ

Is gambling legal in Washington D.C.?

The Washington D.C. Lottery is the only form of legalized gambling in the District of Columbia.

Are there casinos in Washington D.C.?

There are no casinos in Washington D.C. This is due to the fact that it is illegal, as well as a lack of space to place a casino.

What games are offered by the Washington D.C. Lottery?

The D.C. Lottery sells instant games and lotto tickets at convenience stores throughout the city. Keno drawings are held in bars every four minutes from 6am to 2am daily. Some lottery retailers have kiosks with video scratch-off tickets.

How do charities operate gambling in Washington D.C.?

Charities must register through the lottery commission. They may operate bingo, raffles, casino nights and poker tournaments. Charities must be located in Washington D.C. and in operation for at least one year. The exception are raffles as Virginia and Maryland charities may sell tickets in the District of Columbia.

What is the minimum Washington D.C. gambling age?

The minimum gambling age for Washington D.C. residents is 18.

Where is the closest casino to Washington D.C.?

Maryland Live! in Hanover, Maryland is the closest casino to Washington D.C.

Is online poker legal in Washington D.C.?

No. The Washington D.C. City Council repealed a law that would have allowed online poker in 2012. Any site that accepts players from the city is illegal.

Are Washington D.C. online casinos and sports betting sites legal?

No. Any site that spreads that type of action over the Internet is unlicensed and illegal.

Are daily fantasy sports sites legal in Washington D.C.?

Sites like DraftKings and FanDuel assert they are legal as the activity is a skill game. Washington D.C. has not acted on this opinion. The games remain available to the city’s residents.

Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller Online Casino and Game Expert

Cliff Spiller is a global casino industry specialist who writes relatable content for beginners and experts. He's written gambling articles and online casino reviews at OUSC for over 15 years.

Learn More About Cliff