Legislators, Operators Discuss Sports Betting Amendment in DC

A bill to expand the sports betting market in Washington, DC, has currently been deliberated upon, and if successful, this feat will diversify sports betting in the capital.

The month of March saw Kenyan McDuffie, a member of the Council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development (CBED), propose the Sports Betting Amendment Act in Washington, DC. If approved, this act would seize FanDuel from being the only sole operator in the district.

 The Sports Betting Amendment Act 2024 suggests allowing up to seven online sports betting operators in the district, breaking away from the current monopoly FanDuel has on the market.

Class C License Review Worries Operators

While numerous operators have backed the online betting portion of the legislation, a major gaming company has voiced strong concerns about a section of the bill that proposes raising the district’s retail sports betting tax rate from 10% to 20%.

For the updated Class C license, the application price has been increased to $2 million, and it covers a term of five years. Following the conclusion of the first term, the license will be renewed for an additional five years at a fee of $1 million.

Caesars Digital’s Chief Development Officer, Dan Shapiro, has voiced his worries about the planned rise in the tax rate that applies to retail sports betting. He added that the Caesars retail sportsbook at Capital One Arena will suffer a large amount of disruption as a result of this increase.

Over $5 million worth of taxes have been given to the district by the sportsbook since it first opened its doors in May of 2021. Increasing the retail rate to 20%, on the other hand, can have a detrimental impact on the company’s investment in the retail sector and might even result in operational losses.

“We will support mobile sports betting, but it’s the retail aspect we have serious concerns about. The tax rate should be left at 10% so we can continue to invest in the District,” he said.

Barbara B. Lang, a former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Washington, DC, Chamber of Commerce, told the committee that this will negatively impact the local businesses that currently operate sports betting kiosks.

Meanwhile, in accordance with the laws that are now in place, individuals who have a Class-A license are permitted to engage in retail sports betting in certain professional sports arenas and stadiums located within the district. Caesars Sportsbook runs a retail location at Capital One Arena, FanDuel at Audi Field, and BetMGM at Nationals Park.

When it comes to online sports betting, both BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook are authorized to offer their services solely to customers who are located within two blocks of their respective retail stores.

“It increases our ability to connect with our customers when they’re not in or around the ball park,” Robert O’Connor, Vice President, Government & Industry Affairs for BetMGM, said, highlighting the need to add more options to Class-A holders.


About the Author
Tebearau Egbe

Tebearau Egbe

Tebearau Egbe is a seasoned gambling writer with more than four years of experience. Armed with a Masters degree in philosophy, Egbe possesses a unique ability to dissect complex industry developments, distilling them into insightful narratives that captivate readers.

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