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DC council opens doors for sports betting

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DC council opens doors for sports betting

Lucas O'Connor

Lucas O'Connor

Lucas O'Connor

Asher Friedman-Rosen

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In an 11-2 vote, the DC Council recently approved legislation to legalize sports gambling. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s signature is the last step in the process. The legalization of sports betting in DC could reap many benefits, but nevertheless is met with some controversy.

First and foremost, if sports betting is legalized, there is a ton of money in the industry that could find its way into the pockets of DC residents. An Oxford study in 2017 found that the legalization of sports betting across the U.S. could boost the GDP by up to $14 billion annually. Though DC would only represent a small fraction of this growth, the legalization of sports betting will certainly bring great economic benefits to the District. Finally, DC will likely bring in revenue from taxes on the new industry, with the bill slating to tax 20 percent from all online or mobile licensed retailers, and a 10 percent tax on all gross sports wagering revenue.

In 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was passed and it was a federal statute that greatly limited the scope of sports betting, with it being legal in only a few states In the Supreme Court case Murphy vs. National Collegiate Athletic Association, the 1992 Act was deemed unconstitutional and in violation of the 10th Amendment. This verdict opened up the field for new pro-betting legislation to be passed.

In addition, jobs will also be created as betting institutions pop up throughout the District helping to cut down on unemployment and benefit the community. In the UK where sports betting has been legal for quite some time and has a place in the culture, two of the largest sports betting companies each employ 16,000 workers. Though 32,000 doesn’t seem like a particularly large amount, it is not worth neglecting.

Unfortunately, some believe that there are significant drawbacks to the new bill. Those who voted against the bill, like Councilmember David Grosso, were worried that the legalization of sports betting could lead to addiction, poor management of money, and job loss. In the UK, there has been a serious uptick in underage gambling with the introduction of online gambling. A report from the UK’s Gambling Commission found nearly half a million people between the ages 11 and 16 placed bets illegally. Seeing that certain gambling in the UK, like Fixed Odds Betting Machines, have been referred to as the crack cocaine of gambling, it is understandable that councilmembers would want gambling as far from DC as possible.

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DC council opens doors for sports betting