The East Coast has been on a run of late, recently legalizing RI sports betting and PA sports betting. And NJ sportsbooks have taken in almost $1 billion in bets in less than six months. Now, it appears legal sports betting is ready to occur in one more area, DC. And it can happen as soon as December 18 when a final vote to legalize DC online sports betting is set to take place.
DC Sports Betting In The Making
The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 would allow for legal DC online sports betting. According to the bill:
“A sports wagering operator license authorizes the operation of sports wagering at locations approved by the office and through any internet, mobile application or other digital platforms.”
As noted, the Council is pushing to take the final step in providing legal DC sports betting to the district. A law to legalize DC online sports betting has already gained preliminary approval, thus opening the door for millions of dollars in revenue.
Councilmember for Ward 2, Jack Evans, has been very clear that adding revenue to the district in an important goal. The estimated revenue is hard to determine, as Evans has stated that it could be between Estimated $20 to $500 million. More importantly, legislation was met with support from a 10-2 majority vote. The two councilmembers who opposed the bill were Brianne Nadeau and David Grosso, as Kenyan McDuffie was absent.
The DC mayor’s office also expressed support for Jack Evans’ agenda and views DC sports betting as an opportunity to navigate much needed funds towards a list of significant programs in the state, as well as to help create jobs for residents.
Evans has expressed programs that could benefit from legal sports betting would include arts and childhood education. Though it is still unclear exactly how much tax revenue will come from DC sportsbooks and DC sports betting apps and how it will be distributed.
Questions Remain About DC Sports Betting
Another thing that’s still unclear is who will be leading the DC online sports betting industry. There is a DC lottery who could be called to regulate the market, but sportsbook operators could also come in to operate.
The details surrounding the legislation will be straightened out after a final vote, expected to take place on Dec. 18. It will be the last legislative session for the year and should the vote pass, sports betting in DC could begin as early as February of 2019.
There is also some urgency, as a handful of councilmembers have expressed an urgency in getting a DC mobile app out on the market before Maryland and Virginia try to cut a piece for themselves. DC is well ahead its neighbouring states in the legislative process, making DC sports betting a very likely reality as soon as February of next year.