DC Passes Sports Betting Legislation

DC Passes Sports Betting Legislation

After much anticipation and amid certain controversies, Washington D.C. City Council passed the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act 2018 this Tuesday, December 18th. The sports betting legislation was passed with a 11-2 vote in favor of it.

This makes the US capital the seventh jurisdiction in the US to legalize sports betting this year…

…And, despite the unified attempts by some of the largest betting groups and operators, in league with professional sports organizations, to prevent Intralot from being the sole provider of sportsbooks in D.C, this will indeed be the final outcome as D.C. Councilmembers approved of company’s monopoly on sportsbook services.

Urgent Act

This even provoked American Gaming Association (AGA) to react quickly to the news of the Amendment Act being passed by calling on D.C. lawmakers to adjust the sports betting law so that Intralot and D.C. Lottery are not the only ones encouraged to deliver mobile sports betting.

Washington D.C. has a rich sports tradition, with a franchise in each of professional leagues such as NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, NHL etc.

The city’s councilmember, Jack Evans, proposed the legislation back in September. According to it, 700,000-people city will allow for both land-based and online sports wagering.

Being urgent in nature, the emergency legislation puts the wheels of law in motion immediately, meaning that D.C. Lottery can already begin implementing the rules and, if able, offering sportsbook services.

A Marred Beginning?

The city’s Mayor, Muriel Bowser, will approve the permanent bill which will be subject to a 60-day review by Congress. Permanent bill should allow for betting to commence before the start of the next Major League Baseball season in April 2019.

A gross wagering revenue tax of 10% will be enforced on all operators. There are two types of licenses operators can apply for:

Class A, which is for sports venues betting, which costs $250,000 and Class B which costs $50,000 and can be used on other premises. There are four sports venues in D.C. that can offer sports wagering in the city: FedEx Field (82,000 seats), Nationals Park and Capital One Arena (both 41,000-seaters) and Audi Field (20,000+ seats).

AGA’s senior vice president, Sara Slane, welcomed the passing of legislation…

…She said that reasonable tax rate and non-existence of integrity fees are D.C. Bill’s stronger points, especially since integrity fees were seriously considered during the preparation of the bill.

However:

The gaming regulator is extremely concerned about the looming Intralot/D.C. Lottery monopoly on mobile sports betting.

Slane personally commented on this matter, saying that AGA would like to urge D.C. lawmakers to “reevaluate the merits of this key aspect of their framework and allow greater competition.”

She added: “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.”

Source:

“D.C. passed sports betting law”, igamingbusiness.com, December 18, 2018.

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