Washington D.C. Moves Forward with Sports Betting Bill

Sports betting is one step closer to fruition in Washington D.C. as council members approved a measure this past week. Jack Evans, a Ward 2 Councilmember, introduced a bill titled the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 with the bill having passed during a meeting this week with a vote of 10 to 2.

The bill will be read again in two weeks, with the potential to progress further. The measure has seen its share of opposition with another councilmember, Robert White, trying to change the number of operators allowed licensing in the new industry.

An amendment was presented for the bill, which would have seen five licenses offered for sports betting in the region instead of a model including a single operator as listed in Evans bill. The single operator would be the lottery, which Evans has ties to. Opponents feel that allowing only the lottery to operate sports betting is unfair. With the amendment proposed by White, 35% of net profits from sports betting would go to locally owned businesses in the area as well as businesses owned by minority women.

Councilmember Evans feels that the area will benefit more from a single operator option like the lottery. Reportedly, Intralot, a company that supplies lottery gaming in DC, stated that they could provide 30X more revenues than a traditional open model. This seems to be a bit farfetched though or at least an overestimation to a certain degree.

Despite the intentions by Evans, he has stated that he will be placing language in the measure so that if sports betting passes and is not successful with a single model format, the industry could change to a multiple operator format.

It will be interesting to see how the bill progresses and if Washington D.C. will be one of the next areas in the US to begin offering sports betting.

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