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Legislation introduced to repeal federal sports betting tax

20th March 2023 10:33 am GMT

United States Representatives Dina Titus of Nevada and Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania have introduced legislation to eliminate the federal sports betting tax.

The 0.25 per cent excise tax on legal sports bets, known as the “handle tax”, amounted to almost $22 million in Nevada alone in 2022. 

Representatives Titus and Reschenthaler, co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Gaming Caucus, argue that the excise tax, together with an annual $50 per head tax on each sportsbook employee, serve to discourage employment and enable illegal sportsbooks to offer better odds than operators licensed in the United States.

Betting on horse racing and sports betting operated by state lotteries are already exempt from the handle tax.

“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,” said Rep. Titus. “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.”

Sports betting is now legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia, and an estimated 68 million American adults are expected to place $15.5 billion in bets on the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament this year.

“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,” said Rep. Reschenthaler. 

“Unfortunately, outdated tax codes and burdensome regulations penalize legal operators and incentivize illegal activity.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.”

Representatives Titus and Reschenthaler introduced the same legislation in 2020.

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