Bipartisan Congressional Gaming Council Looks to Overturn Federal Sports Betting Handle Tax

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  • Congressional Gaming Council hopes to overturn 70-year old law increasing sportsbook taxes
  • Legal sportsbooks in 33 states and Washington D.C. would be affected if law overturned
  • Previous legislation submitted in 2022 had 13 co-sponsors

After ten years of trying to overturn a 70-year old law taxing federal sports betting handle, two U.S. House Representatives believe they might have the support to finally save sportsbooks all over the country millions of dollars.

Reps Dina Titus, a democrat from Nevada, and Guy Reschenthaler, a republican from Pennsylvania, reintroduced legislation to repeal the federal handle tax. Although the less-than one percent tax doesn’t appear to take much from sportsbooks, the two representatives from states with legal sports betting believes the tax unfairly prevent growth in the gaming industry.

After failing to garner much attention over the past several years, with 33 states and Washington D.C. offering legal sports betting, Rep. Titus feels that the legislation has its first genuine chance to pass through both chambers of congress and be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Overturning Federal Handle Tax Would Save Pennsylvania Sportsbooks Millions Each Year

eAlthough Nevada had long held the crown as the state with the most sports betting handle, states such as New Jersey, Illinois, and Pennsylvania have seen revenue totals in recent months rivaling the Silver State.

For Rep. Reschenthaler, the tax limits the potential growth of the PA sports betting economy in Pennsylvania. With large nationally recognized sportsbooks in the PA online sports betting market such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, Rep. Reschenthaler wants to eliminate unnecessary taxation. 

“Unfortunately, outdated tax codes and burdensome regulations penalize legal operators and incentivize illegal activity,” Reschenthaler wrote in a statement. Repealing the handle tax “will ensure the gaming industry can support good-paying jobs and promote economic growth in southwestern Pennsylvania and across the nation.” 

For Rep. Titus, the growth of sports betting has placed an emphasis upon Nevada to offer more than just gaming to customers. By repealing the federal handle tax, Rep Titus feels that her state’s sportsbooks can place more money into providing better odds for games to attract tourists out to Nevada’s casinos for a unique sports betting experience.

“With the explosive growth of sports betting across the country, it’s time to finally repeal the handle tax which penalizes legal gaming operators and punishes sportsbooks for creating jobs,” Titus wrote in her joint statement with Rep Reschenthaler. “As co-chair of the bipartisan Gaming Caucus, I’m pushing this legislation to keep legal gaming markets thriving nationwide and help local economies reap the benefits of this growing industry.”

Derek Blake is a freelance writer that has covered the expansion of legal sports betting in America and the regional casino business for several well-known industry websites. During his writing career, he has written profiles on dozens of athletes and focused on the collision of sports and politics.

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