One of the next frontiers for the spread of sports betting may be in our nation’s capital.
The Washington DC city council is looking to make wagering on sports legal in the city limits by spring 2019.
The city’s Committee on Finance and Revenue will meet on Oct. 17 to discuss the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 in a public hearing. Councilman Jack Evans, who helped to introduce the bill, spoke with Legal Sports Report about the progress through the council.
“Here’s how I see it – we have a hearing on October 17 and if all goes well, the bill will be out of committee by the end of the month,” evans said.“If everything falls into place, sports betting will be live by [MLB] opening day next year.”
DC Council bills can take a bit longer to become law
Evans’ optimism comes in opposition to what is often an arduous process. Passing a bill into law for Washington DC contains an extra layer of review that other cities don’t have.
In short, any bill passed by the city council and signed by the mayor must also pass a 30-day review by the US Congress. If the 30 days passes without incident, then the bill becomes law.
However, the federal legislative body has the ability to pass a disapproval resolution that defeats any bill’s passage. If that happens, only a presidential veto can overturn the resolution and allow a city bill to become law.
What’s in the bill?
The bill specifies the same types of fees and taxes common in other state sports betting bills. Potential operators must pay $50,000 to secure a five-year license.
Gross sports betting revenue will be subject to a ten percent tax. The revenue from taxes will fund programs that support early childhood development, arts and humanities.
The city’s Office of Lottery and Gaming will be in charge of overseeing sports betting in the city. The top position in that office is chief financial officer.
Missing from the bill is any mention of integrity fees. However, Evans told LSR that they were leaving the door open in case such a fee becomes standard in other localities.
Where will you be able to bet on sports in DC?
Perhaps the most interesting part of the bill is the fact that Washington DC is not home to any casino properties. As such, there are no easily designated locations for sports betting to occur.
So, first and foremost, mobile and online betting will be available in the city. Anyone of age with a device inside the 100 square miles of DC should be able to place wagers on sports.
However, sports betting could potentially pop up at a variety of different venues — the bill merely states that each licenseholder’s location is subject to approval. It’s possible that DC might have sports betting in actual sports arenas.
Evans, for his part, favors sports betting at the city’s hotels and their 20 million annual visitors. He hopes that introducing a sportsbook into hotels will start a new trend across the country.
“The goal is to establish a model bill for the rest of the country to use,” Evans Said.