With legalized sports betting spreading to nearly half of the states in the country, the U.S. Congress is once again addressing the industry. However, this time, Congress could actually help the gaming industry out instead of impeding it.
A rare bipartisan bill, which has been penned by the co-chairs of the Congressional Gaming Caucus, will come in front of Congress with the intentions of eliminating the excise tax on sports betting operators. This bill argues that the tax creates more harm than good.
Bill Is Getting Its Fair Share of Support
Considering how divided the country is on a number of different matters, it’s rare for a bill to get bipartisan support, but that’s exactly what this one has.
And, support isn’t just coming from inside the Congress, as the CEO of the American Gaming Association Bill Miller has also chimed in stating that this bill could go far in offering some much needed relief thanks to the financial hit suffered from this health pandemic.
Miller also believes that this bill will help to cut down in illegal sports betting by making it easier for legal sportsbooks to operate without a federal tax on top of state taxes.
This bill specifically looks to appeal the handle tax that is placed on all legal sports bets within the country. The Congressional Gaming Caucus is co-chaired by Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pennsylvania) and Dina Titus (D-Nevada) who have spearheaded this effort.
The Tax Adds Up Real Fast
Currently, the handle tax is set at 0.25%, which goes straight to the federal government. It is placed on all the legal sports betting operators in the country, regardless of the state they are in and what those state laws and taxes are set at.
As an example of how much this excise tax can amount to, last year the legal sportsbooks in Nevada paid a total of $13.3 million dollars to the federal government. This is of course the highest amount out of all the states, which should come as no surprise since Nevada is the leader of this industry.
Sports bets through state lotteries and horse betting are exempt from this tax. Unfortunately, those not exempt also have to pay a $50 tax for every single employee who works for the legal sportsbook. That’s in addition to the excise tax, which means the total amount paid gets continues to increase.
“Unfortunately, the penalty on making legal sports bets never left. The handle tax makes it more difficult for legal gaming establishments to compete with illegal operators. Repealing it will push more consumers out of the black market and into a well-regulated market.”
Titus went on to stress that forcing these legal sportsbooks to also pay a per-employee tax takes things too far and is in poor timing when so many of these places are currently dealing with furloughs and layoffs.
There seems to be plenty of support to abolish the excise tax and really allow the sports betting market to prosper within the country. All signs point to Congress providing some relief to a gaming industry that two dozen states are counting on to boost their economies.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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