Summary: While Washington D.C. quickly moved sports betting legislation through the system, it seems the region is now halting their efforts.
In the United States, efforts have shifted from online gambling legislation to sports betting. After the US Supreme Court ruled that individual states could legalize sports betting when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was shut down, state after state began to pass bills to get started. Late last year, Washington D.C. was one region that proposed legislation and moved quickly to see the option become a reality. However, it seems that efforts have now stalled, with a decision by the city council being postponed.
Sports gambling legislation has come to a stand-still in Washington D.C. as the city council decided this week to postpone a decision involving the measure that will allow competition when it comes to the management of sports betting in the city. The council stated that they want to give the community additional time to provide their opinion before making a final ruling.
The concern regarding sports betting in the region is that the council will be choosing an entity to manage the industry instead of allowing companies to bid to be the provider. In the United States, it is typical for the bidding process to be open so that there are not any deals made that are considered shady or unfair to the industry.
According to council members, months may be lost in progress. The area may be delayed in offering sports betting, but the process would be more in line with what is currently going on the nation, instead of setting up a group without competition beforehand.
In December, the city council of D.C. approved sports betting. With the approval, they became the first jurisdiction to give approval in the Washington area for the wagering activity. There are no casinos in the region that would be able to offer sports betting, but D.C. is home to the lottery.
The lottery is operated by Intralot and the D.C. Lottery is the overseer. The group has pushed to see Intralot in charge of sports betting, with the organization stating that delays in this decision will cost the region millions of dollars. According to Beth Bresnahan, the Executive Director of the D.C. Lottery the process of bidding could take three years and cost tens of millions of dollars of lost revenues.
Bresnahan also pointed out that if nearby Maryland and Virginia begin to offer sports betting in the meantime, then the District would be behind when it comes to establishing customer relationships with residents in these regions as well as their own. Because of the location of the district, commuters from other states could easily begin taking part in the activity, if the lottery is able to have control now.
Council Members Stand Strong
Despite the argument by the Lottery, the members of the city council have remained firm in their decision to allow the public to have a say so. The council wants to see what the public has to say on the matter and ensure that the D.C. residents understand what will take place before moving forward.
The Chairman of the Council has agreed to withdraw an emergency measure involving sports betting and a bill will be introduced next week that will look to approve public bidding.