D.C. Council Member Introduces Sports Betting Legislation

The capital of the United States could be the next state to offer sports betting, if legislation introduced this week is passed into law. Jack Evans, a D.C. council member of D-Ward 2 has proposed a new measure that would allow betting on sporting events.

Act quickly

Evans is urging the District to move quickly to pass sports betting legislation so that it can dominate the new market. Since mid-May, when the United States Supreme Court decided to rule that a federal ban against sports betting was invalid, states have been able to pass legislation to legalize the activity.

In the area of Washington, sports betting has yet to progress, so with the passage of the bill, D.C. would be the only area for many miles to offer gambling.

Nearby Maryland has casinos, but no sports betting, while Virginia is just now considering offering gambling in general. The nearest option for sports betting in the vicinity of D.C. is West Virginia, via the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. However, to get there, patrons would have to travel from D.C. for over an hour and a half just to reach their destination.

Details of the legislation

Evans introduced the bill during a council meeting this week, stating that D.C. could be the first and receive a lot of money, or be the 51st and not receive any. For years, Nevada was the only state to offer full sports betting options.

Following the SCOTUS ruling, New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia and Pennsylvania now offer legalized sports betting. States are quickly taking action to get started and Evans doesn’t seem to want D.C. to lag behind.

The bill introduced by Evans would tax operators of sports betting at the rate of 10%, based on gross revenues each month. The city would also charge a $50,000 fee for a five-year sports betting license.

Of the tax revenues, 50% would be used to support early childhood care and other programs while the remaining portion would be used to for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. If the selected programs have funding, then any leftover funds would be placed in the city’s discretionary general fund.

It seems the majority of the council is in support of the measure, which was drafted with the assistance of Mayor Muriel E Bowser’s office as well as the D.C. council chair, Phil Mendelson. The latter reportedly does not approve of legalized gambling, but he feels that the bill will be good for the city.

Mendelson stated: “We are going to see — state after state will amend their laws to support sports gambling. It’s clear that residents have long accepted… gambling of the nature like the lottery and internet sports gambling as acceptable, so it’s important to amend the law to reflect the Supreme Court’s actions.”

Within the measure, Evans has named the chief financial officer of the district as the regulator of sports betting, including having the power to set the maximum wager for the new market. The agency is already in charge of the region’s lottery.

The bill also bans athletes from placing wagers on any sports game, as well as coaches and referees.

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