District of Columbia Online Gambling Laws

The District of Columbia has some confusing and frustrating gambling laws but it is not illegal to gamble online in D.C.. Residents do not have to worry about breaking any laws if they decide to gamble online at an online gambling site that accepts D.C. players, since we are not attorneys we suggest if you have more questions about the DC gambling laws that you contact an attorney.

§ 16-1702. Recovery of losses at gaming.

A person who, at any time or sitting, by playing at cards, dice or any other game, or by betting on the sides or hands of persons who play, loses to a person so playing or betting, a sum of money, or other valuable thing, amounting to $25 or more, and pays or delivers the money or thing, or any part thereof, may, within three months after the payment or delivery, sue for and recover the money, goods or other valuable thing, so lost and paid or delivered, or any part thereof, or the full value thereof, by a civil action, from the winner thereof, with costs. If the person who loses the money or other thing, does not, within three months actually and bona fide, and without collusion, sue, and with effect prosecute, therefor, any person may sue for, and recover treble the value of the money, goods, chattels, and other things, with costs of suit, by a civil action against the winner, one-half to the use of the plaintiff, the remainder to the use of the District of Columbia.

§ 22-1701. Lotteries; promotion; sale or possession of tickets.

If any person shall within the District keep, set up, or promote, or be concerned as owner, agent, or clerk, or in any other manner, in managing, carrying on, promoting, or advertising, directly or indirectly, any policy lottery, policy shop, or any lottery, or shall sell or transfer any chance, right, or interest, tangible or intangible, in any policy lottery, or any lottery or shall sell or transfer any ticket, certificate, bill, token, or other device, purporting or intended to guarantee or assure to any person or entitle him or her to a chance of drawing or obtaining a prize to be drawn in any lottery, or in a game or device commonly known as policy lottery or policy or shall sell or transfer, or have in his or her possession for the purpose of sale or transfer, a chance or ticket in or share of a ticket in any lottery or any such bill, certificate, token, or other device, he or she shall be fined upon conviction of each said offense not more than $1,000 or be imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both. The possession of any copy or record of any such chance, right, or interest, or of any such ticket, certificate, bill, token, or other device shall be prima facie evidence that the possessor of such copy or record did, at the time and place of such possession, keep, set up, or promote, or was at such time and place concerned as owner, agent, or clerk, or otherwise in managing, carrying on, promoting, or advertising a policy lottery, policy shop, or lottery

§ 22-1702. Possession of lottery or policy tickets.

If any person shall, within the District of Columbia, knowingly have in his or her possession or under his control, any record, notation, receipt, ticket, certificate, bill, slip, token, paper, or writing, current or not current, used or to be used in violating the provisions of § 22-1701, 22-1704, or 22-1708, he or she shall, upon conviction of each such offense, be fined not more than $1,000 or be imprisoned for not more than 180 days, or both. For the purpose of this section, possession of any record, notation, receipt, ticket, certificate, bill, slip, token, paper, or writing shall be presumed to be knowing possession thereof.

§ 22-1703. Permitting sale of lottery tickets on premises.

If any person shall knowingly permit, on any premises under his or her control in the District, the sale of any chance or ticket in or share of a ticket in any lottery or policy lottery, or shall knowingly permit any lottery or policy lottery, or policy shop on such premises, he or she shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $500, or be imprisoned not more than 180 days, or both.

§ 22-1704. Gaming; setting up gaming table; inducing play.

Whoever shall in the District set up or keep any gaming table, or any house, vessel, or place, on land or water, for the purpose of gaming, or gambling device commonly called A B C, faro bank, E O, roulette, equality, keno, thimbles, or little joker, or any kind of gaming table or gambling device adapted, devised, and designed for the purpose of playing any game of chance for money or property, or shall induce, entice, and permit any person to bet or play at or upon any such gaming table or gambling device, or on the side of or against the keeper thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of not more than 5 years. For the purposes of this section, the term “gambling device” shall not include slot machines manufactured before 1952, intended for exhibition or private use by the owner, and not used for gambling purposes. The term “slot machine” means a mechanical device, an essential part of which is a drum or reel which bears an insignia and which when operated may deliver, as a result of the application of an element of chance, a token, money, or property, or by operation of which a person may become entitled to receive, as a result of this application of an element of chance, a token, money, or property.

§ 22-1705. Gambling premises; definition; prohibition against maintaining; forfeiture; liens; deposit of moneys in Treasury; penalty; subsequent offenses.

(a) Any house, building, vessel, shed, booth, shelter, vehicle, enclosure, room, lot, or other premises in the District of Columbia, used or to be used in violating the provisions of § 22-1701 or § 22-1704, shall be deemed “gambling premises” for the purpose of this section.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person in the District of Columbia knowingly, as owner, lessee, agent, employee, operator, occupant, or otherwise, to maintain, or aid, or permit the maintaining of any gambling premises.

(c) All moneys, vehicles, furnishings, fixtures, equipment, stock (including, without limitation, furnishings and fixtures adaptable to nongambling uses, and equipment and stock for printing, recording, computing, transporting, safekeeping, or communication), or other things of value used or to be used: (1) in carrying on or conducting any lottery, or the game or device commonly known as a policy lottery or policy, contrary to the provisions of § 22- 1701; (2) in setting up or keeping any gaming table, bank, or device contrary to the provisions of § 22-1704; or (3) in maintaining any gambling premises; shall be subject to seizure by any designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department or any member of the Metropolitan Police force, or the United States Park Police, or the United States Marshal, or any Deputy Marshal, for the District of Columbia, and any property seized regardless of its value shall be proceeded against in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by libel action brought in the name of the District of Columbia by the Corporation Counsel or any Assistant Corporation Counsel, and shall, unless good cause be shown to the contrary, be forfeited to the District of Columbia and shall be made available for the use of any agency of the government of the District of Columbia, or otherwise disposed of as the Mayor of the District of Columbia may, by order or by regulation, provide; provided, that if there be bona fide liens against the property so forfeited, then such property shall be disposed of by public auction. The proceeds of the sale of such property shall be available, first, for the payment of all expenses incident to such sale; and, second, for the payment of such liens; and the remainder shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the District of Columbia. To the extent necessary, liens against said property so forfeited shall, on good cause shown by the lienor, be transferred from the property to the proceeds of the sale of the property.

(d) Whoever violates this section shall be imprisoned not more than 180 days or fined not more than $1,000, or both, unless the violation occurs after the person has been convicted of a violation of this section, in which case the person may be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or fined not more than $2,000, or both.

§ 22-1706. Three-card monte and confidence games.

Whoever shall in the District deal, play, or practice, or be in any manner accessory to the dealing or practicing, of the confidence game or swindle known as 3-card monte, or of any such game, play, or practice, or any other confidence game, play, or practice, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000 and by imprisonment for not more than 180 days.

§ 22-1707. “Gaming table” defined.

All games, devices, or contrivances at which money or any other thing shall be bet or wagered shall be deemed a gaming table within the meaning of §§ 22- 1704 to 22-1706; and the courts shall construe said sections liberally, so as to prevent the mischief intended to be guarded against.

§ 22-1708. Gambling pools and bookmaking; athletic contest defined.

It shall be unlawful for any person, or association of persons, within the District of Columbia to purchase, possess, own, or acquire any chance, right, or interest, tangible or intangible, in any policy lottery or any lottery, or to make or place a bet or wager, accept a bet or wager, gamble or make books or pools on the result of any athletic contest. For the purpose of this section, the term “athletic contest” means any of the following, wherever held or to be held: a football, baseball, softball, basketball, hockey, or polo game, or a tennis, golf, or wrestling match, or a tennis or golf tournament, or a prize fight or boxing match, or a trotting or running race of horses, or a running race of dogs, or any other athletic or sporting event or contest. Any person or association of persons violating this section shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 180 days, or both.

§ 22-1709. Bucketing, and bucket-shopping and bucket-shops; definitions.

Repealed.

§ 22-1710. Penalty for bucketing or keeping bucket-shop.

Repealed

§ 22-1711. Penalty for communicating, receiving, exhibiting, or displaying quotations of prices.

Repealed

§ 22-1712. Bucketing; written statement to be furnished; contents.

Repealed

§ 22-1713. Corrupt influence in connection with athletic contests.

(a) It shall be unlawful to pay or give, or to agree to pay or give, or to promise or offer, any valuable thing to any individual:

(1) With intent to influence such individual to lose or cause to be lost, or to attempt to lose or cause to be lost, or to limit or attempt to limit such individual or his or her team’s margin of victory or score in, any professional or amateur athletic contest in which such individual is or may be a contestant or participant; or

(2) With intent to influence such individual, in the case of any professional or amateur athletic contest in connection with which such individual (as a manager, coach, owner, second, jockey, trainer, handler, groom, or otherwise) has or will have any duty or responsibility with respect to a contestant, participant, or team who or which is engaging or may engage therein, to cause or attempt to cause:

(A) The loss of such athletic contest by such contestant, participant, or team; or

(B) The margin of victory or score of such contestant, participant, or team to be limited; or

(3) With intent to influence such individual, in the case of any professional or amateur athletic contest in connection with which such individual is to be or may be a referee, judge, umpire, linesman, starter, timekeeper, or other similar official, to cause or attempt to cause:

(A) The loss of such athletic contest by any contestant, participant, or team who or which is engaging or may engage therein; or
(B) The margin of victory or score of any such contestant, participant, or team to be limited.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any individual to solicit or accept, or to agree to accept, any valuable thing or a promise or offer of any valuable thing:

(1) To influence such individual to lose or cause to be lost, or to attempt to lose or cause to be lost, or to limit or attempt to limit such individual or his or her team’s margin of victory or score in, any professional or amateur athletic contest in which such individual is or may be a contestant or participant; or

(2) To influence such individual, in the case of any professional or amateur athletic contest in connection with which such individual (as a manager, coach, owner, second, jockey, trainer, handler, groom, or otherwise) has or will have any duty or responsibility with respect to a contestant, participant, or team who or which is engaging or may engage therein, to cause or attempt to cause:

(A) The loss of such athletic contest by such contestant, participant, or team; or
(B) The margin of victory or score of such contestant, participant, or team to be limited; or

(3) To influence such individual, in the case of any professional or amateur athletic contest in connection with which such individual is to be or may be a referee, judge, umpire, linesman, starter, timekeeper, or other similar official, to cause or attempt to cause:

(A) The loss of such athletic contest by any contestant, participant, or team who or which is engaging or may engage therein; or
(B) The margin of victory or score of any such contestant, participant, or team to be limited.

(c) Whoever violates any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years and by a fine of not more than $10,000.

(d) Whoever violates any provision of subsection (b) of this section shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not more than 1 year and by a fine of not more than $5,000.

(e) As used in this section, the term “athletic contest” means any of the following, wherever held or to be held: a football, baseball, softball, basketball, hockey, or polo game, or a tennis or wrestling match, or a prize fight or boxing match, or a horse race or any other athletic or sporting event or contest.

(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the giving or offering of any bonus or extra compensation to any manager, coach, or professional player, or to any league, association, or conference for the purpose of encouraging such manager, coach, or player to a higher degree of skill, ability, or diligence in the performance of his or her duties.

§ 22-1714. Immunity of witnesses; record.

(a) Whenever, in the judgment of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, the testimony of any witness, or the production of books, papers, or other records or documents, by any witness, in any case or proceeding involving a violation of this subchapter before any grand jury or a court in the District of Columbia, is necessary in the public interest, such witness shall not be excused from testifying or from producing books, papers, and other records and documents on the grounds that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of such witness may tend to incriminate such witness, or subject such witness to penalty or forfeiture; but such witness shall not be prosecuted or subject to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which such witness is compelled, after having claimed his or her privilege against self- incrimination, to testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise; except that such witness so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury or contempt committed in so testifying.

(b) The judgment of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia that any testimony, or the production of any books, papers, or other records or documents, is necessary in the public interest shall be confirmed in a written communication over the signature of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, addressed to the grand jury or the court in the District of Columbia concerned, and shall be made a part of the record of the case or proceeding in which such testimony or evidence is given.

§ 22-1716. Statement of purpose.

It is the purpose of this subchapter to legalize lotteries, daily numbers games, bingo, raffles, and Monte Carlo night parties, which activities are to be conducted only by the District of Columbia and only those licensed by the District of Columbia and subject to the jurisdiction, authority, and control of the District of Columbia. These activities will provide revenue to the District of Columbia and will provide the citizens of the District of Columbia financial benefits.

§ 22-1717. Permissible gambling activities.

Nothing in subchapter I of this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the operation of or participation in lotteries and/or daily numbers games operated by and for the benefit of the District of Columbia by the Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board; bingo, raffles, and Monte Carlo night parties organized for educational and charitable purposes, regulated by the District of Columbia Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board.

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