Will Washington D.C. Legalize Sports Betting?
The issue of sports betting in Washington D.C. is not a new one and goes back to 1989. This is when new the D.C. lottery board attempted to create a “sports pool lottery” in order to raise revenue without raising taxes or cutting city services. Today, with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the PASPA, the debate is once again on the table. Now the question is once again on the agenda, will Washington D.C. Legalize Sports Betting?
As the sports betting issue is being debated by most state in the country, Washington D.C. officials are debating it. However, the road to legalizing sports betting will differ from other states in the Union. This is because Sports Betting is illegal in D.C. due to a law that dates back to the start of the century.
Thus, it is illegal “to bet, gamble, or make books or pools on the result of any trotting race”making online bookies illegal. In addition, it is illegal to bet on “race of any kind”, “any election”, “contest” and “game of baseball”. Furthermore, additions to the law have made it illegal to bet on any other athletic or sporting event or contest.
The Challenge involved in Legalizing Sports Betting in Washington D.C.
One of the challenges to legalize sports betting in D.C. is that 29% of the city is on federal land. Since, gambling is prohibited on federal land; 18 square miles of D.C. will not be able to gamble. Since Washington D.C. is a district and not a state, legalizing sports betting will need a different approach.
Thus, in order to bring legalized sports betting to Washington D.C., it would also take the approval of congress. According to Sports Betting Software companies, lawmakers believe that sports gambling in D.C. would be a good source of revenue.
Furthermore, in a recent interview, Council member Jack Evans voiced his opinion towards legalizing sports betting in D.C. He said that it would be “hypocritical” to deny Washington D.C. residents the chance to bet on sports.
However, Evans doesn’t foresee it as an issue because gambling is accepted in so many other places. His goal is to have sports betting in Washington D.C. by the end of the year.