The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Can tourists and residents gamble in Washington?

Can tourists and residents gamble in Washington?

Every year millions of people visit the states for a variety of pursuits. For some it is for the beaches, for others, it is the numerous tourist attractions such as Disneyland, and for others, it is the amazing food.

Luke Evans
Oct 05, 2021

Table of Contents

Every year millions of people visit the states for a variety of pursuits. For some it is for the beaches, for others, it is the numerous tourist attractions such as Disneyland, and for others, it is the amazing food.

For visitors to Atlantic City and Las Vegas, it may be the first-class restaurants that attract them or the world-famous entertainment, but there are also the casinos to consider.

Although Atlantic City and Vegas have more to offer than just casinos, both these cities are synonymous with gambling. Perhaps Las Vegas is more connected to the casino industry than anywhere else on earth.

Not everywhere in the states has embraced gambling on sports or in casinos in the way Nevada has though. According to Forbes, the US gambling revenue is expected to exceed $43 billion in 2021, but how much of that will be generated in Washington?

How is tourism looking right now?

Tourism took a big hit in 2020, and the industry is still trying to get itself back on top. Major tourist destinations around the world took a big hit when the pandemic was announced.

Thailand, Bali, Las Vegas, and popular European destinations such as the UK, France, and Spain, suffered during the lockdowns and with travel restrictions.

Now though, many countries are attempting to return to normal. This means allowing domestic tourists to travel freely, and to let visitors from overseas arrive too.

In 2019, Washington DC had a record year for tourists, hitting almost 25 million visitors. Now people are getting ready to travel again, what does Washington have in store?

What can Washington's tourists do?

When it comes to culture and history, Washington has more than enough to offer. Check out the following list of destinations for anyone who is hungry for knowledge, architecture, or some culture.

Visitor attractions in Washington:

  • The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  • National Gallery of Art
  • The Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • The US Capitol

However, there is one area that confuses some visitors, especially those from overseas. Are there any gaming establishments for adults, casinos, or poker rooms?

Many visitors don’t know whether online Bingo is legal in Washington? And it’s a valid question as it isn’t possible to play it legally in other states such as Hawaii.

What gambling options are there for locals and tourists?

Below you can read what is available for you if you happened to include Washington DC on your itinerary now that tourism is easier.

An important point to make though is that the gambling laws in the US are changing at a surprising rate. It is always a good idea to check local laws when you go abroad, especially in countries that carry harsh fines and sentences.

Does DC have the lottery?

Yes, the one way of gambling that seems to be fairly universally accepted is state and national lotteries.

Even countries where virtually all forms of gambling are banned, such as China, still run state lotteries. This is largely because it is a way of appeasing the population and controlling the game at the same time. A lot of taxes can be raised this way.

DC has its own lottery and has several games, one of which can be played every day; Instants.

Is there sports betting in Washington?

In 2018, the federal law that was stopping most people in America from placing a bet on football or baseball was scrapped. The Supreme Court decided the former law governing sports betting was unconstitutional and swept it away.

For the first time, every state in the USA could decide whether to allow sports betting or not. Many states have jumped at the opportunity to allow their residents to place a wager on the country’s popular sports.

Some states are still deliberating, and one or two are holding firm against gambling in any form. Hawaii and Utah seemingly have no intention of allowing any form of gambling. And that includes lotteries. If you want to gamble, scratch these off your list of destinations.

The answer though is yes, sports betting is allowed in DC. You can bet at retail sites which is the most popular option, or online through strictly controlled portals.

How about horse races?

Many countries and regions allow legal lotteries as a way to allow their citizens to gamble. Similarly, they usually let horse racing be the one legal avenue to sports betting.

Countries such as Thailand, India, and Japan, have very strict rules about betting on sports. So strict in fact, that there is nothing much else that you can bet on that involves sports.

However, horse racing is the one exception that ties these countries together. Betting on horses is a popular event that goes back hundreds of years, and perhaps, thousands.

Not in Washington though. If you want to bet on horses you will need to circumvent the law and play on what is known as ‘contests’. This is where you bet on predictions and amass points against other players. This is to avoid direct betting on horse racing.

Surely Washington has some casinos?

If by Washington you are talking about the state and its counties then you are in luck. Washington counties have many must-visit attractions, and among those are a number of casinos.

DC, on the other hand, has none. There are however quite a few very close by including the MGM National Harbor.

If you are a resident of DC though, you could hire one of the casino event companies and have your own private night with friends.

If you are a visitor, perhaps you can test your luck on the net instead?

Gambling online at casinos in DC

Online casinos are illegal in Washington DC. It is technically a class C felony to engage in online casino activity, although nothing is likely to happen to the player if caught.

If you wish to play in casinos online then you will need to look for offshore options. Websites based out of the US’s jurisdiction such as LV BET Casino are easy to access in Washington DC. If you have any trouble reaching the online casino of your choice then try a VPN.

Use a VPN to access your favorite sites

If you are having problems accessing any website while in the US, or prefer to add another layer of privacy and security, then use a VPN.

A VPN is a small app that can be added to your mobile device or laptop and it masks your location. This means that if you find yourself in Utah and want to play poker at LV BET then you will be able to.


It seems that while Washington is a safe and friendly place to visit for tourists, and has some remarkable museums and sights, it is not quite a gambling destination.

The regulations that allowed online casinos were revoked within a year, and it looks unlikely that much will change. There are no plans to allow land-based casinos, but there are nearby options.

Sports betting is fine, as long as it isn’t on the horses, and you can always join in the lottery. and there are bingo places, if that is your thing. Otherwise, enjoy the tourist sites, and play online at the hotel later on.

Luke Evans | My name is Luke Evans, and I work as a Web Developer. I am a professional coder and programmer who enjoys contributing to the exciting technical advancements. In 2016, I received a Bachelor's Degree in Software Development from California Institute of Technology. For my outstanding academic performance and leadership abilities while in school, I received the Edmund Gains Award in 2015.


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