The City Council of Washington D.C. has agreed to advance a sports betting legalisation bill, but has stripped out an amendment that would have imposed an integrity fee on betting operators.
The District of Columbia’s Committee on Finance and Revenue agreed to put forward Bill B22-0944 at a meeting earlier this week, at which the chair of the committee, Jack Evans, outlined their plans to permit the DC Lottery to enter partnerships with operators to provide sports betting.
Evans had also hoped to include an integrity fee – described in this bill as a ‘royalty fee’ – of 0.25 percent of all sports betting revenue, to be paid to major sports leagues. But his suggested amendment was removed by council members before they ratified the bill.
The integrity fee proposal was the result of a compromise between Evans and the major sports leagues in the US. They had asked for a fee of 0.25 percent of bets placed, in exchange for providing the DC Lottery with official league data. Evans had proposed a plan for betting companies to pay 0.25 percent of revenue after expenses had been deducted, and the eventual compromise – of a 0.25 percent ‘royalty fee’ was what ended up as an amendment in the bill.
But while Evans’ fellow council members said they appreciated his work in reaching the compromise agreement, they rejected the amendment. Council member Vince Gray said that the royalty fee had not been imposed in other states and would reduce the benefits of legalisation:
“I believe these sports leagues do very well and they don’t need another 0.25% of revenue that could instead go towards supporting valuable programs in DC.”
The committee voted to remove the amendment and the Bill will now go forward for a full hearing before the whole Council on December 4.
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