By Michael Donovan
Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a new DC sports betting bill on Thursday.
However, since all Washington DC council bills must go to Congress for a review period, don’t get too excited yet.
Because the DC sports betting bill carries fiscal impact, that review period is 60 days. DC officials could, however, utilize emergency procedure to start sports betting sooner while the review proceeds.
The district’s council passed a bill legalizing sports betting last month on a 10-2 vote, but Bowser waited weeks to approve it. Controversy engulfed the bill throughout council deliberation, from debate about integrity fees to wrangling over operators.
Even in a best-case scenario, officials in DC do not anticipate legal sports betting prior to spring.
No casinos operate in Washington DC, meaning the lottery will need mobile sports betting to succeed. It’s included in the bill.
Plans also exist to include legal sports betting at DC-area stadiums and arenas. Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis supports this idea.
The district also might feature so-called “exclusivity zones” allowing those arenas to ban sports betting for a small radius near the facilities. These plans could require significant work for geofencing technology operators to ensure compliance with the law and zones.