D.C. Council Holds Sports Betting Hearing
The District of Columbia is moving towards a vote on a sports betting bill after holding a hearing before the district’s City Council Finance & Revenue Committee.
Councilman Jack Evans—a principal sponsor of the district’s bill and chair of the committee—said he wants to see the district move quickly as ports betting is growing in the U.S. and could soon be legal in Maryland and other district neighbors.
The bill would set D.C.’s Office of Lottery and Gaming as regulator for sports betting and would tax gross revenue at 10 percent. Tax revenue would be split equally between early childhood education programs and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
The key question in the bill is exactly who would be allowed to apply for sports betting licenses.
One proposal has the city lottery office running any online sports book, presumably by outsourcing operations to a gaming tech company.
Officials from both DraftKings and FanDuel—which have both launched sports books in New Jersey—told the committee that more competition would lead to more revenue for the district. However, a sole site through the lottery could lead to a stagnant market with few options for consumers they said, according to a report by the website Sportshandle.
Lottery officials, however, said the office could easily handle a sports book operation.
Also, since the district has no casinos, its sports book operations would launch online and then possibly move to land-based sites. Lottery officials noted that as many as 1 million people are in the D.C. market.
Evans is hoping for quick movement on the bill.
“We’re hoping to get this bill in final form right after November 1,” said Evans. “If a vote from this committee is in favor, then it will go to full council.”