Sportsbetting a new revenue source for Washington DC?

The promise of a tax revenue bonanza from the recently liberalised US sports betting market has prompted a councillor in the Washington DC city-state to propose that fellow councillors join him in legalising sports betting as increasing numbers of individual US states literally run with the sports betting ball.

Councillor Jack Evans proposed a bill legalising sports betting in the District of Columbia this week, urging fellow councillors to join him in ensuring that safe, regulated and taxable sports betting is made lawful.

“We can be first and get a lot of money or 51st and not get any,” Evans warned. “Today, we take the first steps towards capturing this exciting new stream of revenue, instead of watching District resident dollars fill the coffers of other jurisdictions.

“The District of Columbia will be the leader in a fast-growing industry. The city should take advantage of our ability to act before the Maryland or Virginia legislatures to create a thriving sports betting market, which will attract consumers to the District and generate revenue for District residents.”

Evans' bill reportedly enjoys the support of others on the council, notable Mayor Muriel Bowser and council chairman Phil Mendelson, who have assisted in drafting the Evans proposal.

A senior member of Mayor Bowser's staff told local reporters:

“The Mayor supports council member Evans’ efforts to make sports betting a viable revenue source for our growing needs. Sports betting can help us fund critical programmes, create jobs for District residents and allow visitors and commuters to further participate in our economy.”

The Evans bill proposes a 10 percent tax rate based on GGR, along with a $50,000 fee for a five-year licence. Athletes, coaches and referees would be prohibited from placing bets, while a maximum wager limit that has still to be decided would be set.

Regulatory oversight would be the responsibility of DC's chief financial officer, as is the case with the DC lottery.

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