Summary: The District of Columbia, council members are continuing to move forward with plans to legalize sports betting.
Over the past few months, sports betting has continued to grow in the United States. Once the US Supreme Court decided to rule that the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act was invalid, states began pushing to get started so that they could begin to take advantage of the millions yet to be made with the new industry. The latest area to possible be next to pass sports betting legislation is the District of Columbia. The D.C. Council continues to move forward with plans to legalize the industry.
Moving Legislation Forward
A bill was presented to the D.C. Council a few weeks ago, set to allow five professional sports betting venues to be created. The Lottery will run the gambling option, maintaining a monopoly within the city. A second reading is set to take place soon by the Council to hopefully see the legislation move forward even more.
The bill was first proposed back in September, changing several times over the past few months. Changes made to the legislation include removing a payment for professional leagues, something that many are calling an integrity fee. The bill has been listed on the legislative agenda for the Council under the heading ‘non-consent’, so this means that there will be more discussion and possible more changes to the bill before it comes up for a full vote within the council.
It seems that more discussion will be had on the topic of the DC Lottery running the operation and if they will be able to have a monopoly and stop any competition from taking place when it comes to online and mobile sports betting.
Interactive Gaming App
The Lottery would be creating an interactive gaming app in D.C., based on language in the bill, and this would be the only app offered in the region, aside from what stadiums or other businesses that have been given sports betting licensing. The DC Lottery is recommending the single-app model as they feel it will be the most lucrative option for the city.
The bill has included language that will give the Council the authority to break the monopoly with the Lottery and allow for commercial competition if a single vendor option does not help the city when it comes to sports betting.
In the past, a bill would have been approved by the Council, then signed by the mayor of D.C. then approved in Congress before becoming law. Congress can take 60 days to act on a Council bill. If they do not take action, then the bill automatically becomes law.
The Council can also create an emergency measure that will allow the bill to become law if the measure is signed by the mayor. The Council will take this step tomorrow to ensure the bill can become law quickly. If both are able to pass, the bill will become law immediately and the Lottery will start to prepare the industry for operation.
Several regions in the US near D.C. have already begun offering sports betting or are in the process of starting services. West Virginia began services in the summer and advertise in the region, with Virginia and Maryland also considering services. Council members would like to see any revenues from sports betting stay in their city rather than be spent elsewhere.