D.C. Council Quashes Pro-League Fee, But Sports Betting Bill Moves On

The professional sports leagues struck out again on Wednesday when the D.C. City Council opted to remove language from its sports betting bill that would have payed the leagues a royalty. Entering Wednesday’s “mark-up” hearing in the Finance and Revenue Committee, a revised version of Bill 22-944 included a one-quarter of 1 percent cut of gross sports wagering revenue as a payout to the professional leagues. But the council unanimously agreed to cut the amendment that added that fee.

The net result is that the committee agreed to move the bill along to a first reading, set for Dec. 4. The goal is to get the bill voted on at a Dec. 16 meeting.

During the one-hour hearing, several other bills were discussed, but the committee spent about half an hour discussing sports betting. Key changes to the original bill included creating a two-block no-competition zone around designated gaming facilities; removing the mandate that sportsbooks use official league data and replacing that with the royalty; language reaffirming that the D.C. Lottery would regulate sports betting; and allowing mobile bettors to use the D.C. Lottery sports betting app around the city, but requiring them to use only the app approved by a gaming facility in said facility.


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Lawmakers Pushing For Legal Sports Betting In Washington D.C., Possibly With Mobile Betting Before Retail

The post Lawmakers Pushing For Legal Sports Betting In Washington D.C., Possibly With Mobile Betting Before Retail appeared first on SportsHandle.

Legal sports betting may be coming to the District of Columbia (District), a development made clear at a public hearing on Wednesday by Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2), Chairman of the D.C. Council’s Finance & Revenue Committee.

The hearing occurred roughly one month after Evans and five colleagues submitted the sports betting bill — B22-0944, the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018.

“It’s my view that over the course of the next several years, sports betting will be legal across the country,” Evans said in opening remarks, adding that he wants the District to move soon toward passage to avoid falling behind Maryland and other neighbors, as it did with tradition casino gambling. Right now, Evans said, Maryland properties such as the MGM National Harbor are attracting large amounts of patrons from D.C. and tax dollars that could benefit the District.

DC Council Leaders Pushing For Bill Sports Betting, So Bets Can Be Taken Early in 2019; Some Details Still Need Ironing

By way of background, the law as-is calls for:

  • The regulating body to be the D.C.’s Office of Lottery and Gaming, which currently oversees the city’s lottery;
  • Sports betting would be taxed at 10 percent of gross revenue;
  • The city would charge a $50,000 licensing fee;
  • Athletes, coaches and game officials would be prohibited from placing sports bets; and
  • Tax revenue would be split equally between early childhood education programs and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. If those programs are fully funded, any surplus dollars would go into the city’s general fund.
  • All types of wagering would be permitted: single-game wagers, parlays, teasers, in-game wagering, pools, exchange wagering, propositions and so forth.

Key issues that arose during this hearing:

  • Who should be allowed to get licensed to operate a sportsbook? Both DraftKings and FanDuel officials had the opportunity to address this, and emphasized that more competition, from the likes of both established companies, would mean more revenue for the district, more competition, meaning better products and consumer protections as the better operators would rise to the top;
  • There was frequent reference to New Jersey’s emerging market: Mobile sports betting revenue has already exceeded brick-and-mortar sportsbook wagers;
  • The DFS-turned-sportsbook operators are concerned that running sports betting solely through the D.C. Lottery, which would outsource operations to a company like IGT or Scientific Games, would not foster competition, and thus encourage a stagnant market that ultimately might depress revenues. Also, fewer options for consumers. They pointed to Delaware as an example, which has a contract with Scientific Games, which has contracted William Hill for risk-management.
  • The D.C. Lottery representative, Beth Bresnahan, offered a counterargument here, saying that the Lottery is well-equipped to handle sports wagering.
  • The Lottery is also looking to launch first with mobile/online offerings, then transition to retail offerings — a clear contrast with every other state to legalize sports wagering so far.  D.C. is also in a unique position to do this: there are no commercial or tribal casinos in D.C., nor any pari-mutuel options.
  • One witness noted that in West Virginia, the state Lottery is tasked with regulatory oversight of sports wagering licensees: all five state casinos are licensed (or in the process) and to our knowledge, the lottery itself is not yet offering sports betting-style games.
  • Bresnahan noted that there’s about 1 million people in the District that could join the legal market.  She said that in terms of putting together a responsible gaming monitoring and capturing dollars for to DC, the Lottery is in best position to do that.

As usual, the National Basketball Association objected to the absence of certain provisions in this law, and enumerated the provisions desired by the NBA as well as fellow pro leagues Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour.

Read the full post – Lawmakers Pushing For Legal Sports Betting In Washington D.C., Possibly With Mobile Betting Before Retail at SportsHandle.

Sports Betting on Agenda This Week In Indiana, Illinois and Washington, D.C.

Indiana, Illinois and the District of Columbia will have hearings on sports betting this week. Both the Indiana and Illinois hearings are informational, ahead of the midterm elections and winter sessions, while the D.C. Council hearing could be the first step in legalizing sports betting before the end of the year.

In Indiana, the Interim Study Committee on Public Policy, chaired by Representative Ben Smaltz (R-District 52) will hear public testimony and have a committee discussion about legal sports betting before issuing a recommendation on the topic on Friday beginning at 12 p.m. ET.  The Indiana General Assembly adjourned in March without legalizing sports betting.

Sports betting was definitely a hot topic among some members of the assembly, and in January, Representative Alan Morrison (R-District 42) introduced HB 1325, a sports wagering bill that marked the first appearance of a bill containing several pro leagues’ “Model Legislation” language and a 1 percent “integrity fee” that they’ve been after.  The bill died in committee and no additional legislation was introduced before the session closed. On the Senate side, Jon Ford (R-District 38) also introduced legislation, but it, too, died in committee.


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Congressional Hearing on Sports Betting Slated For Sept. 27

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The Congressional hearing on sports betting, which was postponed in late June, is back on the docket.

Staff for the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday confirmed that the hearing “Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America” is slated for 10 a.m. ET on Sept. 27 before the U.S. House of Representatives House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.  News of the hearing was first reported by ESPN’s David Purdum.

A full list of parties testifying is not immediately available. The American Gaming Association confirmed that Sara Slane Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, will be testifying on behalf of the gaming industry.  “Legal, regulated sports betting will enable increased transparency and enhance protections for consumers and betting and game integrity,” Slane said. “We look forward to discussing the U.S. gaming industry’s core principles for legalized sports betting with the Judiciary Committee at next week’s hearing.”


Read more Congressional Hearing on Sports Betting Slated For Sept. 27 on SportsHandle.

Washington, D.C. Councilman Introduces Sports Betting Bill

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Against a backdrop of U.S. Congressmen proposing the idea of a federal framework for sports betting, a District of Columbia city council member has introduced a bill that would allow sports betting in the nation’s capitol. According to the Washington Post, Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) introduced legislation that he says he is co-authoring with Democratic mayor Muriel E. Bowser and Democratic city councilman Phil Mendelson.

The bill has been referred to the Finance and Revenue Committee, of which Evans is the chairman. (Read the bill here.) The District is in a unique situation in that is it essentially a city-state and the 13-member City Council makes law in D.C.  Given the relatively small number of lawmakers, the process is more nimble than in a larger state governments. However, laws passed by the Council are subject to Congressional approval.

Should the District of Columbia legalize sports betting, it would be the first in the immediate region to do so. Maryland is very much a gaming state but did not pass sports betting legislation in 2018 that would have put the matter of legalization to voter referendum. The closest states with legal sports betting are Delaware — the first in the nation to roll out sports betting post-PASPA — and West Virginia, which took its first sports bet in late August.