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Lawmakers on the DC Council voted to open up the city’s OSB market through the budget process after a heated debate.

The council voted to approve the city’s $21bn budget on Wednesday (13 June), leaving in an amendment which would allow multiple operators to offer bets.

FanDuel currently enjoys a monopoly on sports betting in DC through a subcontract with Greek lottery supplier Intralot.

In contrast, the budget’s Sports Wagering Amendment Act of 2024 would also allow Caesars and BetMGM to offer betting city-wide.

This is opposed to the current two-block radius limit around a professional sports venue where they are based.

The amendment would also create a new class of licence that would allow other sports betting operators to partner with DC sports teams to offer district-wide wagering.

Previously, sports betting was offered through the city’s Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) monopoly.

This took place first through a controversial Intralot contract that was eventually farmed out to FanDuel, after years of poor performance from the original GambetDC platform.

The question of whether the budget was the appropriate method to open the market was not without controversy.

DC sports betting survives heated debate

Councilmember Zachary Parker’s amendment to remove the sports betting language from the bill was defeated 9-4 after a heated debate.

Concerns centred around the potential revenue to be raised and what it would mean for the city’s small businesses with GambetDC retail kiosks.

An amendment was filed by the author of the sports betting proposal Kenyan McDuffie to protect small businesses by mandating the OLG provide betting terminals to the retail sites if operators drag their feet.

Parker said on X: “Regardless of where you land on sports betting, we can agree that process matters. Fast-tracking sports betting through the budget is a choice, one that is unnecessary.”

“I remain concerned that Subtitle P of Title VII, the “Sports Wagering Amendment Act of 2024,” in the Budget Support Act of 2025 (BSA) has not yet received the scrutiny necessary to fully address small businesses’ concern,” he added later.

“I am heartened that there were assurances today to meaningfully address these concerns.

A second vote is scheduled for later in the month on the proposals in the budget.

If successful, the budget will pass on 15 July, meaning BetMGM and Caesars would immediately be permitted to offer bets across the city.

The budget will require authorisation from DC mayor Muriel Bowser, and be subject to review by the US Congress.

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