US Representatives Dina Titus (D-NV) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) reintroduced a bill to end the federal tax on US sports betting.
The Discriminatory Gaming Tax Repeal Act aims to end the 0.25% “handle tax” on legal US sports bets.
Both representatives are co-chairs of the Congressional Gaming Caucus and filed this bill earlier. They argue the tax is unnecessary and encourages illegal operations.
Titus says now is the time to repeal the handle tax
Sports betting is legal in 33 states and Washington DC. American Gaming Association (AGA) has recently published a prediction on the March Madness betting. It revealed that 68 million players plan to bet $15.5 billion on this year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.
Rep. Titus feels she has some allies in Congress and wants to change the current US gambling taxes. She said:
“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. 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.”
According to Las Vegas Review-Journal, Titus attempted to determine how the federal government allocated this tax money. But the IRS was unable to answer.
Two measures discourage employment and enable illegal operations
In 2022, Nevada casinos paid nearly $22 million in gambling taxes. The amount is almost double the state’s total from 2019 and more than four times the national average.
On top of the handle tax, legal operators must also pay an annual $50-a-head tax on each employee working in sportsbooks. Both Titus and Reschenthaler believe such provisions discourage employment. These requirements also empower illegal operators, as they can attract users while offering better odds.
Rep. Reschenthaler emphasized that the gaming industry contributes to the federal economy: “The US gaming industry provides over one million jobs, including 33,171 jobs in Pennsylvania, and generates more than 70 billion for state and local governments throughout the country.” He went on to add:
“Unfortunately, outdated tax codes and burdensome regulations penalize legal operators and incentivize illegal activity. The Discriminatory Gaming Tax Repeal Act will ensure the gaming industry can support good-paying jobs and promote economic growth in southwestern Pennsylvania and across the nation. I’m proud to join Gaming Caucus co-chair Titus in introducing this bipartisan legislation, and I urge our colleagues in the House to support it.”
Previous attempts to excise tax on US sports betting
This is not the committee’s first attempt at trying to kill the federal sports betting tax. Titus and Reschenthaler have previously filed this bill together in 2020 and 2021. Serving in Congress for over a decade, Titus even sponsored similar legislation in 2014 and 2015.
As legal US sports betting expands, it is becoming clear why legislators are looking for an end to this requirement.