Washington, D.C. Requires Sports Wagering Operators to be Licensed and Bonded

Council Bill 22-0944—also known as The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018—was signed into law and took effect on May 3, 2019. Following the Supreme Court ruling in May 2018, many states softened their stances regarding sports betting and have passed legislation to legalize and regulate the practice. This council bill follows that trend by establishing regulations for the industry and requiring sports wagering operators to be licensed and obtain a surety bond to legally operate in the District of Columbia.

What is sports wagering?

According to Council Bill 22-0944, “sports wagering” means accepting wagers on sporting events, a portion of a sporting event, or an individual’s performance statistics in a sporting event. Sports wagering includes in-person bets and betting through websites or on mobile devices. Sports gambling does not include any fantasy or simulated game or contest.

How do I get a Washington, D.C. sports wagering license?

To get a license to conduct sports wagering in Washington, D.C., an application containing all the following materials must be submitted to the Office of Lottery and Charitable Games.

  • Applicant’s name and mailing address as well as the business location
  • Report on personal and business financial activities 
  • Description of the proposed internal controls to be used such as the security system, the betting service-provider, and other technology-based operations
  • Number of expected employees
  • Estimated tax revenue
  • Business address
  • A surety bond in an amount determined by the board

Licensing is required whether you plan to operate on-site, online, or on mobile and the license may be renewed every five years.

Why do sports wagering operators need to be bonded?

The sports wagering bond is required to protect the state and the public by guaranteeing financial compensation is available for those harmed as a result of unlawful behavior on the part of the licensee.

Along with sports wagering operators, the Office of Lottery and Charitable Games requires management service providers, suppliers, and retailers to be bonded.

How much does a sports wager surety bond cost? 

Sports wager surety bond costs depend on the bond amount required by the Office of Lottery and Charitable Games. However, the licensee is only required to pay a small percentage of the bond amount called the premium. The bond premium is determined by an underwriter and it is primarily based on the applicant’s credit, although other factors like relevant work experience may also be taken into account when determining the premium. Applicants who are considered highly qualified are typically approved for less than 5% of the total bond amount, meaning a highly qualified applicant needing a $100,000 surety bond will almost always be approved for less than $5,000.

How do I get a sports wagering operator surety bond in Washington, D.C.?

You can request your Washington, D.C. Sports Waging Operator Bond online 24/7 or call 1(800)308-4358 to speak with a surety expert about your bonding needs.

Sign Up for Surety News!

About the Author

Emma Winschel
Emma is a senior at the University of Missouri studying Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. She is a member of the marketing department and outreach team for SuretyBonds.com, a leading provider of online bonding for clients nationwide.