THE DISTRICT’S SPORTS WAGERING LAW

WHAT ARE THE MAIN LAWS AND REGULATIONS WHICH GOVERN SPORTS WAGERING?

Sports wagering became legal in Washington, D.C. Act 22-594, the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018, as amended by Act 23-2. This legislation cleared congressional review and became law on May 3, 2019. The Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) adopted rules and regulations on August 30, 2019 and opened the licensing process in early December 2019.

WHAT AGENCY OR BODY REGULATES SPORTS WAGERING?

The Office of Lottery and Gaming.

WHAT IS THE LEGAL AGE TO PLACE A SPORTS WAGER IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA?

The minimum age to place or cash a sports wager in the District is 18 years of age.

WHAT IS THE TAX RATE ON SPORTS WAGERING IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA?

Private sports-wagering operators (Class A and Class B) are required to pay a 10 percent tax on gross gaming revenue and any applicable federal tax.

SPORTS WAGERING LICENSING

IS THERE A LIST OF SPORTS WAGERING LICENSEES (OPERATORS) AVAILABLE?

A list of Applicants and the status of each of application is posted as received on the OLG’s website and can be viewed here.

WHO CAN APPLY FOR A LICENSE TO OFFER SPORTS WAGERING AND WHERE CAN WAGERING BE OFFERED?

There are four categories of licenses associated with sports wagering in the District of Columbia:

  • Operator
  • Management Services Provider
  • Supplier
  • Occupational

There are two classes of Operator Licenses that are available – Class A Operator and Class B Operator.

The statute legalizing sports wagering in the District dictates that Class A Operator Licenses may be issued at four designated stadiums and arenas located in the District – Audi Field, Capital One Arena, Nationals Park and St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena.

Class A Operator License permits in-person and mobile wagering within the licensed sports wagering facility, as well as mobile wagering within the 2-block radius surrounding the licensed location. No other form of sports wagering may be licensed within a Class A facility or within the 2-block radius surrounding the licensed Class A facility.

Class B Operator License authorizes in-person and mobile sports wagering within the licensed sports wagering facility located within the District. All wagering, including mobile, offered by a Class B Operator must be conducted within the physical confines of the licensed location. There is no restriction on the type of business a Class B Operator can be (could be a bar, restaurant or hotel setting as just a few examples), though it cannot be in business solely for the purpose of sports wagering. There is no designation where a Class B facility must be located. However, it is important to note that a Class B Operator License cannot be issued within the 2-block radius of a Class A exclusivity zone or within areas of the District where gambling is prohibited (Federal Enclave).

Management Services Provider or “MSP” License permits an independent entity affiliated with a licensed Operator (Class A or Class B) to conduct sports wagering operations on its behalf at its licensed location. If a Class A or Class B Operator chooses to engage an MSP to manage its sports book operations, both the Operator and MSP must be licensed by the OLG and the applications for licensure should be submitted in tandem for optimal review.

IS THERE A LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF LICENSES AVAILABLE?

Class A Operator Licenses are limited to four total and are restricted to sports wagering operations at each of the following facilities:

  • Audi Field
  • Capital One Arena
  • Nationals Park
  • Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena

There is no limit on the Class B Operator Licenses that the OLG may issue. However, the OLG has the discretion to deny a sports wagering application if it is not in the best interest of the District.

There are restrictions on the number of licenses any one entity may hold. An Applicant for an Operator License (Class A and Class B) or Management Services Provider (MSP) may apply for up to, but no more than two (2), sports wagering licenses unless the Applicant forms a joint venture where a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) holds majority interest in the Joint Venture.

WHAT IS THE INITIAL COST AND TERM OF A SPORTS WAGERING LICENSE?

Sports wagering licenses issued by the OLG are non-transferable. All sports wagering-related license application fees are set by statute and are as follows:

  • Class A Operator License: A Class A Operator License shall be issued for a five (5) year term and requires a non-refundable initial application fee of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000), which must be submitted with the application. If an Applicant for a Class A Operator License is a certified joint venture pursuant to the CBE Act, where the joint venture has a CBE majority interest, and is also certified as either a Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Disadvantaged Business Entity (DBE), or Resident-Owned Business (ROB), the non-refundable initial application fee is one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($125,000). A Class A Operator License may be renewed for a five (5)-year period provided that the Licensee has continued to comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements and pays upon submission of a renewal application a two-hundred-fifty-thousand-dollar ($250,000) renewal fee.
  • Class B Operator LicenseA Class B Operator License shall be issued for a five (5) year term and requires a non-refundable application fee of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), which must be submitted with the application. If an Applicant for a Class B Operator License is a certified joint venture pursuant to the CBE Act, where the joint venture has a CBE majority interest, and is also certified as either an SBE, DBE, or ROB, the non-refundable initial application fee is twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).A Class B Operator License may be renewed for a five (5)-year period provided that the Licensee has continued to comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements and pays upon submission of a renewal application a fifty-thousand-dollar ($50,000) renewal fee.
  • Management Services Provider: A Management Services Provider (MSP) License shall be issued for a one (1)-year term and requires a non-refundable application fee of ten thousand dollars ($10,000), which shall be submitted with the application. An MSP License may be renewed annually provided that the Licensee has continued to comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements and pays upon submission of a renewal application a two-thousand-dollar ($2,000) renewal fee.
  • Supplier License: A Supplier License shall be issued for a one (1)-year term and requires a non-refundable application fee of ten thousand dollars ($10,000), which shall be submitted with the application. A Supplier License may be renewed annually provided that the Licensee has continued to comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements and pays upon submission of a renewal application a two-thousand-dollar ($2,000) renewal fee.
  • Occupational License: An Applicant for an Occupational License shall submit an application, and pay a nonrefundable fee of $100, which may be paid on behalf of the Applicant by the prospective employer. An Occupational License holder shall submit a renewal application by September 30 of each year and pay a renewal fee of one hundred dollars ($100), which may be paid on behalf of the licensed employee by the employer.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A SPORTS WAGERING LICENSE?

Applicants can apply for an Operator License (Class A or Class B), Management Services Provider License, Supplier License or Occupational License through the OLG’s  online licensing portal.

Applicants in each licensed category will be asked to submit substantial information and documentation that will assist the OLG in determining suitability in matters including but not limited to finance, honesty and integrity.

The due diligence investigations for license Applicants covers their regulatory history in other jurisdictions, financial stability, compliance plan and history, and recent litigation, among other areas. The investigations for qualifiers – those individuals who are officers, board members or key investors of the Applicant – cover their employment history, criminal record, education, stock holdings and financial suitability, among other areas.

The OLG uses the International Association of Gaming Regulators’ (IAGR) Multi-Jurisdictional Business Form as the basis for information collected from Applicants, along with addendums requesting information specific to an Applicant’s proposed sports wagering operations in the District.

IS ONLINE/MOBILE SPORTS WAGERING PERMITTED?

A Class A Operator may operate online/mobile sports wagering within its licensed facility and within the 2-block radius surrounding the facility. A Class B Operator may operate mobile sports wagering within the confines of its licensed facility.

Mobile applications and online platforms are limited to one skin per licensed location.

CAN YOU DEFINE/DEMONSTRATE WHAT THE 2 BLOCKS SURROUNDING THE CLASS A FACILITIES IS?

For an interactive GIS layer map of the 2-block zone surrounding the designated Class A facilities (Audi Field,100 Potomac Avenue, S.W.; Capital One Arena, 601 F Street, N.W.; Nationals Park,1500 South Capitol Street, S.E.; and, St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena, St. Elizabeth’s Campus, 1100 Oak Drive, S.E.), please visit: https://opendata.dc.gov/datasets/entertainment-sports-gambling-restriction-zones?geometry=-77.375%2C38.836%2C-76.722%2C38.929.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE SPORTS WAGERING CBE AND SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS THAT AN APPLICANT MUST MEET TO BE LICENSED?

A key objective in legalizing sports wagering in the District of Columbia is to create opportunities for local small businesses to participate in and profit from this emerging new industry.

Specifically, the OLG shall only issue an Operator (Class A or Class B) and Management Services Provider License to Applicants who meet the following statutory requirements:

  • In conjunction with its application for a license, the Applicant must submit a plan (“CBE Plan”) to the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) that demonstrates at least thirty-five percent (35%) of the expenses included in the Applicant’s operating budget will be contracted or subcontracted with one or more Certified Business Enterprises (CBEs).
  • Is a certified joint venture pursuant to the CBE Act, where the joint venture has a CBE majority interest, and is also certified as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), or Resident-Owned Business (ROB); or
  • Obtains a waiver from DSLBD of the contracting or joint-venture requirements. An Applicant that is a CBE or a certified joint venture shall not be required to comply with the CBE minimum thirty-five percent (35%) expenditure requirement, provided the CBE or certified joint venture performs at least fifty percent (50%) of its contracting effort with its own organization and resources.

An Applicant’s CBE Plan or joint venture must be approved by DSLBD before the OLG can issue an (Initial Standard, Renewal or Provisional) Operator or Management Services Provider License.

For more information on developing a CBE Plan and the submission and review process, contact DSLBD at cbe.info@dc.gov or visit https://dslbd.dc.gov/node/1426971.

HOW CAN I BID ON UPCOMING AND CURRENT CONTRACTING AND PROCUREMENT OPPORTUNITIES?

All parties interested in learning more about small business and procurement opportunities within the District, should contact DSLBD directly at Business.Opportunities@dc.gov. In addition, general information regarding how to “Be a Better Bidder on Contracts and Procurements in the District,” can be accessed here.

WILL OBTAINING A SPORTS WAGERING OPERATOR LICENSE IMPACT MY ABC-ISSUED LICENSE?

The addition of any sports wagering kiosks or mobile terminals to an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC)-licensed establishment may constitute a “substantial change” in operation. Accordingly, current ABC licensees must submit a Sports Wagering Substantial Change Application to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for consideration.

Persons seeking a new ABC license that want to include sports wagering as part of their normal operation can include the request in their initial Alcoholic Beverage License Application.

Both scenarios may be subject to a 45-day public notice period and approval from the ABC Board.

Licensing and approvals from both OGL and ABRA may be sought concurrently.

For more information on alcoholic beverage licensing, contact ABRA at 202.442.4423 or visit https://abra.dc.gov/page/sports-wagering-lottery-amendment-act-2018.

DO SPORTS WAGERING SUPPLIERS NEED TO OBTAIN A LICENSE?

An individual, group of individuals or entity that seeks to sell or lease sports wagering equipment, software, systems, data or services relating to the conducting of sports wagering, as determined by the Office, must obtain a Supplier License.

An individual, group of individuals or entity that provides odds on sporting events to Operators or Management Services Providers when such information is not available to the public electronically in real-time, must be licensed as a Supplier.

WHICH SPORTS BOOK EMPLOYEES NEED TO OBTAIN AN OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE?

Any employee of a Sports Wagering Operator or Management Services Provider whose work duties are directly related to or involve sports wagering operated under the jurisdiction of the OLG; and any individual who is a Sports Wagering Manager, a general manager or department manager having oversight or operational responsibility for operations of a Sports Wagering Facility licensed in the District.

PROVISIONAL SPORTS WAGERING LICENSES

WHAT IS A PROVISIONAL SPORTS WAGERING LICENSE?

Operator, Management Services Provider and Suppliers currently fully licensed in other “Office-approved gaming jurisdictions” may apply to receive a temporary/provisional license in the same category or equivalent category of license while completing the necessary steps for a Standard Sports wagering  license in the District.

The “Office-approved gaming jurisdictions” that will be taken under consideration in the OLG’s provisional sports wagering licensing process are :

  • British Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi (including Tribal)
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
I HAVE NEVER BEEN LICENSED AS A SPORTS WAGERING OPERATOR, MANAGEMENT SERVICES PROVIDER OR SUPPLIER. CAN I STILL APPLY FOR A PROVISIONAL SPORTS WAGERING LICENSE?

No, an Applicant for a Provisional Sports Wagering License must be currently licensed in an “Office-approved gaming jurisdiction” in the same category or equivalent category of license to qualify for a temporary/provisional license.

WHAT IS THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR A PROVISIONAL SPORTS WAGERING LICENSE? HOW DO I APPLY?

Applicants for Provisional Sports Wagering Operator, Management Services Provider and Supplier Licenses can apply via the OLG’s licensing portal. At a minimum, the OLG will request the following from Applicants seeking a Provisional Sports Wagering License:

  • A completed OLG Provisional Sports Wagering License online application;
  • Proof of current licensure to conduct sports wagering from an Office-approved jurisdiction in the same category or equivalent license category as being applied for in the District, along with a copy of the initial application that was submitted to the license-issuing jurisdiction as well as any/all amendments and updates submitted since initial licensure;
  • DC Basic Business License;
  • Citywide Clean Hands (CCH) certification;
  • Key Personnel Release of Information Form(s); and,
  • Information specific to Applicant’s proposed sports wagering operations in the District.

In conjunction with application for a Provisional Sports Wagering License, Operator and MSP Applicants must meet the Sports Wagering CBE and Small Business Development Program Requirements as mandated by the Department of Small & Local Business Development.

The OLG may request additional information considered necessary and appropriate to determine competency, financial stability, economic impact and integrity of the proposed sports wagering operation.

WHAT IS THE COST AND TERM OF A PROVISIONAL SPORTS WAGERING LICENSE?

An Applicant for a Provisional Sports Wagering License must pay the non-refundable application fee associated with a Standard Sports Wagering license in the category for which it is applying. If the Applicant is approved for a Standard Sports Wagering license, there will be no additional fees assessed for the initial Standard License term; however, the Applicant’s initial standard license will be reduced by the number of days the Applicant held a Provisional Sports Wagering License.

  • Class A Operator License: $500,000
  • Class B Operator License: $100,000
  • Management Services Provider License: $10,000
  • Supplier License: $10,000

A Provisional Sports Wagering License is valid for up to six (6) months. The OLG’s Executive Director may extend the Provisional Sports Wagering License period upon a showing of good cause.

A Provisional Sports Wagering License shall expire immediately if the Applicant’s application for a standard sports wagering license is denied.

COLLEGE SPORTS WAGERING

IS WAGERING ALLOWED ON COLLEGE GAMES PLAYED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA?

No wagering is not allowed on collegiate sports that take place in the District. However, wagering is allowed on professional sports or athletic events that take place in the District.

IS WAGERING ON DC COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY SPORTS ALLOWED?

Wagering is not allowed on any collegiate sports or athletic event in which any District of Columbia college team participates, regardless of where the event takes place.

Betting on college and university teams that are located outside of the District of Columbia is permitted.

Betting on any high school sports or sporting events is prohibited.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS

I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT SPORTS WAGERING IN THE DISTRICT. WHO CAN I CONTACT?

Sports wagering-related questions can be sent to SWinfo@dc.gov .

Sport wagering licensing questions can be sent to the Regulation and Oversight Department at swlicensingreg@dc.gov or call 202-788-2100.

If you are a reporter or working for a media outlet, contact OLG’s Director of Marketing & Communications Nicole Jordan at Nicole.Jordan@dc.gov or 202-645-8968.

FAQs are provided for informational purposes only and the actual rules are contained in the OLG’s regulations.

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