DC sports betting bill amended to include a ‘royalty fee’

Lawmakers in the District of Columbia (DC) have proposed an amendment to a sports betting bill that was filed in September.

The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act was introduced by Councilmember Jack Evans and now contains a definition for a ‘royalty fee.’

According to the bill, “Royalty fee means a fee of one-quarter of one percent (0.25%) of the gross sports wagering revenue (as defined in (3) above) on sporting events conducted by registered sports governing bodies.”

A ‘royalty fee’ is an alternative to the controversial ‘integrity fee,’ a tax on sports betting handle, that was introduced by the sports leagues earlier this year.

The ‘royalty fee’ was first introduced in a New York sports betting bill and stipulated that sports betting operators would pay a ‘royalty’ to the sports leagues for using the leagues’ games.

If the bill is successful, the sportsbook operators in DC will be entitled to use assets from the sports leagues as well as official league data in exchange for paying a ‘royalty fee.’

The bill also states that sports betting would be regulated by the state lottery.

The amended bill is set to be reviewed on Wednesday by the Committee on Finance and Revenue.

According to the amendment, each sport governing body (sports league) would first need to apply and register with the Office of Lottery. From here operators in the state would submit a monthly payment to the lottery office.  Each sport governing body will then be able to request the payment of its royalty fee once a year.

If this bill does become law, then the sports leagues will have their first victory when it comes to pushing for ‘integrity’ and ‘royalty fees.’

This could even set precedent when it comes to other states trying to implement sports betting legislation.

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