Legal Sports Betting May Come To DC – Live Products In Early 2019
Washington D.C. sports fans could have legal sports betting up and running as early as 2019. At the Committee of Finance and Revenue testimony hearing on Wednesday, the D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans says they could have a bill signed into law by the end of this year. “If we can get up and running before Maryland and Virginia and some of the other jurisdictions, we can capture the market,” said Evans. At hearing there were several gambling stakeholders including representatives from MGM Resorts International, NBA, FanDuel and DraftKings. The bill is expected to be on the mayor’s desk by Thanksgiving. Then it will go to Congress for a 30-day review.
“It’s either going to happen here in D.C., or it’s going to happen in a place drivable from D.C., and if folks are going to spend their money, I would rather them spend it here,” said D.C. Councilmember Robert White. The number one problem the District is facing is figuring out the licensing structures. Sportsbooks traditionally operate alongside casinos, but there are no Casinos in DC. Councilmember Jack Evans has suggested that sportsbooks be set at the five major sports arenas, bars, restaurants, and hotels.
“The district is in a position to break new ground,” said FanDuel Chief Legal Officer Christian Genetski. “If the goal is to eliminate the unlawful market and create the largest possible revenue pool from legal, regulated platforms, we believe an open competitive market is the only choice for D.C.” “Just let it open for everybody because if those guys are really who they say they are, let’s compete and see who is the best,” said Shane August, president, and CEO of August Holding Corporation.
FanDuels and DraftKings Sign exclusive contracts with Casinos
“The FanDuels and DraftKings of the world sign exclusive contracts with big casinos,” August added. “Other places don’t allow for smaller groups to compete. If this bill passes, our application will be first on the desk,” he added. Fox News reported that an estimated of 30 states could legalize gambling within the next year and D.C. wants to be the first one during 2019. New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Mississippi are already taking a cut out of sports betting. Pennsylvania has also legalized it, but betting has not taken place, just yet.
“There is $150 billion of underground gambling on sports in America,” D.C. Councilmember Evans explained. “How do you bring that $150 billion above ground so that they will bet with the District of Columbia instead of betting with my bookie?” The public testimony period will be opened until November 1. There are other issues to be discussed during that time frame. A major topic is responsible gaming practices.
The National Council on Problem Gambling is all over the matter. First in New Jersey and now they made their point during the DC hearing. “The Department of Health provides no services for gambling addiction to any D.C. residents,” said Keith Whyte, executive director for the National Council on Problem Gambling. Other hurdles to be debated will be revenue expense and the NBA’s pursuit for an integrity fee.