Eventually, D.C. residents over 18 will be able to bet on NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and other professional sports games, as long as they are not using the website (or the accompanying app, which will be available in June) on federal land such as the Mall or Rock Creek Park, or within two blocks of a professional sports stadium.
The website will also allow bets on college sports, except those in which D.C. colleges are playing or games that take place in the District.
The launch of the site was planned for last fall, timed for the professional football season. But a judge, considering a lawsuit over the city’s awarding of a no-bid $215 million contract to the Greek company Intralot to create the betting website, delayed its unveiling.
A spokeswoman for the D.C. Lottery, which runs the new website, said the city decided not to advertise or promote the new site when it launched this week, since global coronavirus shutdowns mean there are few sports available to bet on.
But some eager users did register on the first day and have already placed their bets, said D.C. Lottery communications director Nicole Jordan.
Jordan said the early betting went smoothly, aside from a few users who had to call customer service because they did not realize their registration emails had gone into their spam mailboxes.
The name Gambet, she explained, is meant to evoke the word “gambit,” which she defined as an activity “entailing a degree of risk,” such as betting — as well as the words “game bet.”
“We thought it was a clever way to really say sports betting,” Jordan said.