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D.C. Council will introduce bill to legalize sports betting

September 18, 2018

Sports gambling could be coming to a casino near you, D.C. denizens.

D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, plans to introduce Tuesday the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018, a bill that would legalize sports betting in the city.

“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,” Mr. Evans said via a press release. “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.”

The bill already has support: Council members Mary Cheh, Vincent Gray and Brandon Todd are co-introducing the bill with Mr. Evans. Mr. Evans suggested some gambling revenue can be allocated to fund theBirth-to-Three for All D.C. Act supporting early childhood wellness programs.

In May, the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law limiting betting on sports to a few locations, like Nevada, and for a few sports more widely, like horse racing. Since then,Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia have moved to legalize sports betting in their jurisdictions.

New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have also passed billsand are moving toward legalization, and Maryland introduced a bill for the same purposes.

The closest casino to D.C. that allows sports gambling is in Charles Town, West Virginia.

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