Could The Wait Be Over For Legal Sports Betting In Washington, D.C.?

Could The Wait Be Over For Legal Sports Betting In Washington, D.C.?

Legal sports betting in Washington, D.C. could soon become reality, at least if it’s up to one District official.

On Tuesday during the Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) introduced the “Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018” in hopes of bringing sports gambling to the District of Columbia.

“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,” stated Evans.

“The city should take advantage of our ability to act before the Maryland or Virginia legislatures to create a thriving sports betting market, which will attract consumers to the District and generate revenue for District residents.”

Though nearby West Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have already legalized sports gambling, being ahead of its neighboring states will work in the District’s favor. Right now, the closest sportsbook is Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Ranson, West Virginia – about an hour and a half away.

When Delaware became the first state to offer sports betting outside of Nevada, it took in more than $15 million in bets within two months of launching. The population of Delaware is 961,939 versus only 693,972 in Washington, D.C., but being able to pull comparable figures in D.C. would still be considered a large amount.

What’s In The D.C. Sports Betting Bill?

When writing the bill Evans and his colleagues worked directly with the DC Lottery - the current regulatory body of gaming in the District. As it stands, only lottery games and charitable gaming are authorized in the nation’s capital.

The new bill would reportedly legalize online, mobile, and land-based sports betting. The Act specifies licensure fees for three different tiers of applicants, $50,000 for a sports wagering license, $10,000 for a supplier license, or $5,000 for a retailer license.

The monthly tax rate to the state on an operator’s gross revenue would be set to 10 percent, with half of this excise fee going to a fund for early childhood wellness and the vast remainder to the Commission of the Arts and Humanities.

When To Expect Legal D.C. Sports Betting

This is not exactly D.C.’s first time taking a gamble on sports betting, as lawmakers attempted to pass a sports lottery bill back in 1989 – prior to the passage of the now defunct Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA).

The limited sports betting never gained traction, however, as the Council ultimately determined it was not in the best interest of the District and future deals with professional sports leagues.

USA online sportsbooks knows the post-PASPA era presents a completely different scenario for legal sports in the District. There will soon be two major sports franchises in Las Vegas, and several teams have inked deals with casino partners.

The “Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018” will now be referred to the Committee on Finance and Revenue, on which Evans serves as chairman. If the legislative process results in the bill becoming law, residents would be able to legally bet on sports in Washington, D.C. by the end of the year