The possibility of legal sportsbooks opening for business in Washington DC has become more distinct following a hearing this week on the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 introduced by council member Jack Evans. Should the bill gain overall approval, it could be signed onto the statute books by the end of this year, positioning DC ahead of Virginia and Maryland which are both in closed session until the New Year.
According to the proposals contained with the bill, in-person and online sports betting would be allowed at licensed gambling venues and will attract a levy of 10 per cent on gross revenue from bets. What has yet to be clarified, though, is the projected revenue that legalized sports betting would generate for the state. Current estimates suggest that the black market handle in DC is worth nearly $320m.
Also to be formalized is how the market will operate in a physical sense. Among the current suggestions are licensed kiosks in sports bars and betting parlors, with FanDuel and DraftKings showing an interest in using their apps to deliver sports betting.
Speaking at the hearing was FanDuel chief legal officer Christian Genetski who voiced the opinion that if the ultimate goal is to eliminate unlawful sports betting and create the maximum amount of revenue from legal, regulated platforms, the only option for DC would be an open, competitive market
Evans’ bill is not without its opponents who say that DC already has an issue with people facing problem gambling arising from sports betting, even though it’s currently illegal there. But if all goes smoothly, it could be with the Mayor as early as November 22. Once it has the mayoral signature the bill will then be subject to a 30-day review process in Congress.