US Congress

  • Co-chairs of the Congressional Gaming Caucus have sponsored a bipartisan bill to get rid of the excise tax on sports betting the U.S.
  • The tax has been a burden on sports betting operators and gives unnecessary advantages to illegal sportsbooks.
  • The CEO of the American Gaming Association has supported the bill believing that it will help also give relief from the COVID-19 effects on the industry.

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan bill has been introduced to repeal what is known as a handle tax on all legal sports bets in the U.S.

The co-chairs of the Congressional Gaming Caucus, Reps. Dina Titus (D-Nevada) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pennsylvania), have co-sponsored a bill to end the excise sports betting tax.

Currently, the federal government collects a 0.25 percent excise tax or “handle tax” that affects all legal sports betting operators in the country.

Nevada’s legal sportsbooks, specifically, paid $13.3 million in handle taxes last year which was the highest amount paid out of any state. There are some sports bets that are exempt from this tax such as horse betting and sports betting operated through state lotteries.

For all other sports betting operators, they are required to pay an additional $50 tax for every employee working the sportsbook on top of the excise tax and it is seen more as a penalty to operate a legal sportsbook.

“Sports are back,” said Titus. “Unfortunately, the penalty on making legal sports bets never left. The handle tax makes it more difficult for legal gaming establishments to compete with illegal operators. Repealing it will push more consumers out of the black market and into a well-regulated market,” said Titus. “Forcing sportsbooks to pay a per-employee tax is the last thing we need when gaming establishments are still making announcements about new rounds of layoffs and furloughs.”

The American Gaming Association has publicly supported the new bill as CEO Bill Miller also believes it would help reduce the advantages of illegal sports betting operations.

“I’m grateful to the Congressional Gaming Caucus’ Co-Chairs Reps Titus and Reschenthaler for introducing this legislation today to provide regulated operators with meaningful relief as they recover from the COVID-19 sports shutdown,” said Miller. “Eliminating these taxes is a long overdue step to enable a legal, regulated environment for sports betting that will better protect customers and generate much-needed revenue for state and local economies.”

Since the repeal of PASPA, which allowed for legal sports betting to expand beyond Nevada, the industry as a whole has generated approximately $22 billion. Many officials think the end of handle tax will help the market continue to rapidly grow in the US.

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