Thursday, 20 December 2018

Washington D.C. Votes To Legalise Sports Betting

Sports Betting

Washington D.C. has voted to legalise sports betting in a landmark move.

The vote makes the United States’ capital the first jurisdiction to authorise sportsbooks despite not having any brick-and-mortar casinos.

On Tuesday (December 18), the D.C. Council voted 11-2 to authorise sports betting in the city’s stadiums and arenas, restaurants, shops and on mobile apps within the city limit.

Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser is expected to sign in the bill, though it still needs to be reviewed by Congress. Despite this, supporters of the bill, such as Bowser, expect the bill to take effect within the next few months.

According to NBC News, the D.C. Lottery could oversee sports betting due to the city’s lack of casinos. Operated by the Athens-based Intralot, the D.C. Lottery would sell licenses to sportsbooks at arenas and stadiums for $5,000. There would be no cap on the number of licenses offered by the D.C. Lottery.

Reports suggest that operators will be taxed at 10% of revenue and city officials have estimated that sports betting will bring in around $92 million over the next four years.

Sara Slane, the Vice President of the American Gaming Association, said in a statement: “While the vote today is progress, we remain deeply concerned about giving the lottery a virtual monopoly in the mobile market.

“Predictably, this will result in less investment and innovation, to the detriment of consumers and the ability of a nascent legal marketplace to compete with the accessibility and convenience offered by many established illegal wagering operations.”

Sports Betting in the US

The news comes after the US Supreme Court overturned a ban on sports betting in May, prompting several US states to legalise the activity.

Meanwhile, casinos in states that have already legalised sports betting have already launched their own sportsbooks. Over the last few months, several casino companies announced partnerships with sportsbook companies to form plans to launch sports betting services in future US states.

In October, MGM Resorts formed a partnership with the United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC), a Native American tribe, to offer sports betting in California whenever it becomes legal in the state. Meanwhile, the US branch of British bookmakers William Hill announced an agreement with Golden Entertainment to operate the firm’s sports betting activities in the states of Nevada, Maryland and Montana.

As this happened, New Mexico became the sixth US state to offer sports betting following the launch of a sportsbook at the Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel in Bernalillo just outside Albuquerque.