Late last week, the Mayor of Washington D.C. signed off on a bill legalizing sports betting within the city limits of the US capitol. But if you’re looking to place a friendly wager on the Washington Wizards, the local NBA franchise, you’re going to have to wait a bit.

Due to Washington D.C.’s odd status as a the nation’s capitol, it’s not a state, the measure is going to have to be approved by the U.S. Congress before it can be fully implemented into law.  Under U.S. law, Congress has 60 days to halt the new law. Should Congress decide they have better things to do than meddle in local politics, the bill will pass into law.

But even if Congress doesn’t put up a fuss, there are still plenty of kinks to work out before regulated sports betting becomes a daily driver in D.C.

For starters, the city must figure out who is actually going to operate the new plan. In the original draft of the bill, authority for D.C. sports betting, including mobile and retail, was to be put in the hands of Intralot, the Greek company that currently runs the D.C. lottery. That idea has already met with resistance from the powerful American Gaming Association (AGA), which has plenty of pull in Congress.

In a statement to the press, as reported on by Cardplayer.com, the AGA said, ““We remain deeply concerned about giving the lottery a virtual monopoly in the mobile market. Predictably, this will result in less investment and innovation, to the detriment of consumers and the ability of a nascent legal marketplace to compete with the accessibility and convenience offered by many established illegal wagering operations.”

This leaves the D.C. City Council with the choice of going with their existing vendor and risking a political fight with Congress, or finding a new vendor, a process which will definitely take some time.

The bottom line here is that regulated sports betting will be a reality in Washington D.C. someday, but we really don’t know when.


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