A bill to repeal the O.25 per cent tax on sports bets – otherwise known as the “handle tax” – has been lodged in the US.
A cross-party group, named the Congressional Gaming Caucus, has initiated the move, to considerable acclamation from the American Gaming Associaiton.
The tax took just over $13m out of the Nevada gambling market in 2019 and lesser amounts elsewhere. The co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus, Representatives Dina Titus and Guy Reschenthaler, had failed to discover how the money was used by the tax authority, the IRS.
Not all sports betting in the US is subject to the tax. Horse racing and sports betting operated through state lotteries are exempt.
Congresswoman Titus, in a statement about the tax, said that it “punishes legal gaming operators and encourages consumers to place bets illegally.”
Titus, who represents Nevada, also hit out at the annual $50 tax for each employee working in sports betting venues. “At a time when Las Vegas is experiencing the second highest unemployment rate of any large metro area in the country, forcing sports books to pay an additional tax on each employee makes it harder to bring about economic recovery.”
Her co-chair at the Caucus, Reschenthaler, represents Pennsylvania that has a $6.34bn gambling industry and supports 33,000 jobs. He commented: “The industry is hindered by an out-dated tax code and burdensome regulations that penalise legal, regulated operators while providing illegal operations with an unfair advantage.”