New DC sports betting law: additional revenue for bars and restaurants?

As you have no doubt heard, the DC sports betting law became a reality last week when the Council approved the measure by a vote of 11-2. The new legislation comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Murphy v. NCAA, which struck down a Federal Law restricting sports betting.

The Council enacted the law as “emergency” legislation, which means that it takes effect immediately upon the Mayor’s approval, temporarily bypassing Congressional review. It will eventually have to be replaced with a permanent law, which will have to go up the Hill for review. However, local news outlets seem to be in agreement that the new, friendlier Congress won’t meddle.

The law creates two (2) classes of license for brick and mortar facilities, as well as enabling machines and mobile applications within existing establishments. The ‘A’ Class licenses are limited to the stadiums and arenas and cost $250k per 5 years license period; The ‘B’ Class License is $50k, and must be at least 2 blocks from a Class A facility; finally, the mobile betting or lottery machine license fees are $2,000 each.

DC sports betting timeline

Does this mean you should start teaching your bartenders how much the vig is on a three (3) team teaser for next week’s playoff games? No.

According to D.C. Lottery’s website, in the coming months, they will adopt regulations to hash out the specific licensing conditions. Currently, the Lottery can limit the number of Agents in a given area, in their discretion. The sports betting licenses may have a similar discretionary criteria, but, we won’t know until the regs are published. D.C. Lottery estimates that gambling operations will be up and running within six (6) months.

DC sports betting and alcohol laws

How are the gambling regulations going to mesh with existing ABC Regulations and what additional restrictions might be placed on licensees who want to add a D.C. Lottery sports betting kiosk?

The ABC Board has yet to speak on the subject. However, under current law, the addition of “mechanical or electronic entertainment devices” to a licensed premises is considered a “substantial change in operation.” If sports betting kiosks and mobile terminals are similarly treated, a bar would have to placard and go through the protest process to add machines. Of course the Board is free to adopt additional restrictions in licensed establishments if it sees fit.

At this point, we can be reasonably confident that sports betting is coming. However, exactly when and what it will look like is still a bit up in the air and will be clarified in the months ahead. If you have questions about your eligibility or how you can plan to hit the ground running as the regulations develop, call me or use my online scheduling tool to appoint an appointment.

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