DC Council Approves Sports Betting Changes Through Budget Bill

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DC sports betting

The final reading of the Washington DC budget bill, which includes significant changes for mobile sports betting, was approved unanimously by the DC Council Tuesday.

The budget bill now moves to Mayor Muriel Bowser. After signing the budget, it needs a passive 30-day congressional review.

The changes to DC sports betting could come quickly once that review period closes.

FanDuel, which replaced Intralot’s GambetDC as the sole District-wide operator in April, did not respond to requests for comment.

More District-wide licenses to come

The biggest change in the new sports betting rules approved earlier in June week includes allowing the seven professional DC sports teams to partner with betting operators. That means up to seven District-wide mobile sportsbooks instead of just one option from the DC Lottery.

Those operators could be live a week after budget approval. The sportsbooks must:

Another amendment handles DC sports betting kiosks

Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie‘s amendment for kiosk assurances was approved in the budget as well.

McDuffie expects the kiosks to continue under the current contract with FanDuel/Intralot. If that service is interrupted, it will allow other licensed DC sports betting operators to power kiosks for those retailers.

It was added as “a contingency,” McDuffie explained, to protect small businesses that rely on the retail sports betting kiosks. That amendment passed 10-1 with one “present” vote.

Fanatics, DraftKings respond

Industry sources say Fanatics was a driving force behind opening up the market.

“Today is a great day for DC residents who want options when selecting their sportsbook,” said Fanatics VP of Government Affairs Brandt Iden, who led the effort. “For years, this market has been held together by a thread and some Silly Putty. It was one of the worst performing markets in the country and now it will be the first to go from a single online operator to a competitive market.

“Thanks to [Councilmember] McDuffie, DC will become a leader for other sole sourced closed markets.”

DraftKings took to Twitter to commend McDuffie and Chairman Phil Mendelson, adding, “We look forward to the potential opportunity to introduce D.C. sports fans to our mobile sportsbook product.”

Staff writer Mike Mazzeo contributed to this story.

Photo by Shutterstock/Orhan Cam