Sports Betting Bill Introduced in D.C., Public Hearing Next Month
Apparently, the District of Columbia wants a piece of the sports betting action that other states have jumped on since the overturning of PASPA. A bill has been introduced in DC to legalize sports betting in the city.
In May, the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which was a 26-year-old federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada. Since then, individual states are able to legalize sports betting, and several have already done so, including West Virginia, Delaware, Mississippi, and New Jersey.
On September 18th, D.C. Councilman Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) announced on Twitter:
Today I will introduce the "Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018" during the Council's Committee of the Whole meeting. The legislation's purpose is to legalize sports betting in D.C. while creating strong regulatory structures that ensure consumer confidence. pic.twitter.com/zi4UBV4fvC
— Jack Evans (@JackEvansWard2) September 18, 2018
Joined by five colleagues, Evans’ office worked with the D.C. Lottery to write the legislation. It will allow for both in-person and online bets at new sports betting facilities. The D.C. Lottery will oversee the industry. Co-introducers of the bill are council members Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), Vincent Grey (D-Ward 7), Robert White (D-At-Large), and Anita Bonds (D-At-Large). The bill will be referred to the Committee on Finance and Revenue, which is chaired by Evans.
In a press release, Evans said,
“Today, we take the first steps towards capturing this exciting new stream of revenue, instead of watching District resident dollars fill the coffers of other jurisdictions. The District of Columbia will be the leader in a fast-growing industry. The city should take advantage of our ability to act before the Maryland or Virginia legislature to create a thriving sports betting market, which will attract consumers to the District and generate revenue for District residents.”
The cost to obtain a five-year sports betting license will cost operators $50,000; a sports wagering supplier license will cost $10,000; and a sports wagering retailer license will cost $5,000. In addition, operators will pay 10 percent of their gross revenue monthly to the District. Fifty percent of that revenue will go towards early childhood initiatives and the rest will go to the Commission of the Arts and Humanities. Any leftover funds will go into the general fund for the city.
The public hearing for the Act will be held on October 17th.
Where to Bet
The bill will allow sports facilities and bars to apply for licensing to operate sports betting. Eventually, Evans says, a sports betting app will be available to make sports gambling more widely available to residents and visitors.
When Will This Happen?
Evans has said that the hearings to discuss the issue could likely be held by December. If approved, sports betting could be operational by Spring 2019.
Where to Place Legal Sports Bets Near D.C.?
On August 30th, sports betting opened for business at the Hollywood Casino in Charlestown, West Virginia. Other states with legal sports betting within driving distance of D.C. are Delaware and New Jersey.
Not everyone supports bringing legal sports betting to D.C., however. Keith Whyte, the executive director for the National Council on Problem Gambling, isn’t so sure that D.C. will be able to pull illegal gamblers into the legitimate market. Whyte made the following comments, according to FOX 5 out of D.C.:
“There is a massive existing illegal market, but the challenge here is once you legalize, regulate and tax it, how many of those people who already have that app, who are already betting offshore are really going to go register and pay taxes with the D.C. government or any others?”
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