Washington DC Advances Bill To Legalize Sports Betting

Washington DC Advances Bill To Legalize Sports Betting

The City Council of Washington DC is canceling the amendment that includes “royalty fees” for professional sports leagues, as part of the measures to advance a bill that could legalize sports betting within the district.

Jack Evans, committee chair and council member, stated during a meeting on November 28th, that the territory is interested in authorizing the DC Lottery to sign several agreements with aggregators who supply both land-based and online sports wagering.

To put it differently, the Committee on Finance and Revenue dismissed the Bill B22-0944 which includes a fee of 0.25% of revenue; however, there is another hearing scheduled for December 4th, when the decree will be presented to the entire council.

DC Forecasts Income At $7.7 Million In 2019

According to the report that Evans introduced at the beginning of the committee meeting, Washington DC should be able to generate a revenue of $7.7 million for the capital’s 2019 fiscal year. In like manner, the district’s financial forecast for the next four years exceeds $91.7 million, which was already illustrated in a study last September.

The chairman even introduced four technical amendments to the committee, which exclude fantasy sports from the decree, since the lottery must remain a contracting authority. As a reminder, at the start of November, acting Supreme Court Justice, Gerald W. Connolly, declared DFS competitions illegal in the state of New York.

Furthermore, these acts also encourage a “two-block exclusivity zone” where gambling properties and sports venues would be designated.

In addition, Evans implied that the royalty fees are quite arguable, stating that the leagues are interested in “potential integrity fees” which require a portion of revenues from the District of Columbia in exchange for the official data. Comparatively, in May 2018, New Jersey adopted a sportsbetting integrity fee, which requires the bettors to pay extra before any real wager is accepted.

The report further reads, that a compromise between the leagues and lottery should include logos and trademarks in return for 0.25% of sports betting revenue. Evans commented on this:

“I can’t say this is right or wrong, but what I would like to do is keep it as it is and move forward. This is more about my best efforts to give everybody something and try to do the right thing. I could argue why we shouldn’t do a royalty fee and why we should do it, and there is no right answer that I can come up with.”

‘Sports Leagues Do Well Without 0.25%’

Among those committee members who rejected Evans’ plans for the integrity fee is also Vince Gray, whose dissatisfaction to invest another 0.25 per cent of the revenue is perhaps best explained with the following statement:

“I don’t understand why we have to invest another 0.25% of the revenue when it’s not done anywhere else in the US. I appreciate the efforts you have made to find a compromise here, but this is not something I want to find a compromise on.

I believe these sports leagues do very well and they don’t need another 0.25% of revenue that could instead go towards supporting valuable programs in DC.”

Another council member, Mr. White, also disapproved the amendment due to the concerns regarding all four designated facilities; this applies to sports establishments RFK Stadium, Capital One Arena, Audi Field and Nats Park.


“Washington DC drops “royalty fee” from sports betting bill”, igamingbusiness.com, November 29, 2018.

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