Americans for Tax Reform hosted a panel featuring two experienced figures in the US sports betting industry, who highlighted the different attitudes to regulation between states as well as the impact taxation has on the sector.

What is it?

A representative of FanDuel – one of the biggest sportsbook operators in the US – and a senior member of the American Gaming Association (AGA) outline the regulatory, taxation and market requirements surrounding the US betting and gambling sphere.

Who is it?

Doug Kellogg, Americans for Tax Reform

Andrew Winchell, Director of Government Affairs, FanDuel

Jessica Feil, Senior Director of Government Relations, American Gaming Association (AGA)

What is being said?

“Taxation on sportsbooks is really such a key issue,” Feil began. “It’s a ‘top two issue’ when you talk about sports betting with responsible gaming. And the thing about sports betting is it is an extremely volatile and extremely low margin business. We talked about regulation of casinos table games along with all of our other amenities, and sports betting is a unique vertical.”

She added: “When we talk about taxing, it’s really essential for lawmakers and regulators to understand that this is not tax revenue that is a ‘silver bullet’. It’s really something that needs to be done thoughtfully, because a reasonable tax rate is one that can balance the bar for sportsbooks and provide meaningful revenue to the state, but also allows sportsbooks to realise the revenue themselves that they can reinvest into innovation programmes.”

When asked why some states are more hesitant to embrace digital and online betting, Winchell remarked. “On a state-by-state basis, what the issues are in states that have existing gaming infrastructure, it may depend on who the operators are on a state-by-state basis. If you see a lot of the larger national operators – as far as casino operators –  they have fully embraced pretty much to a tee online gaming and online sports wagering, and they are forward looking and will support that at the state level. 

“Some independently owned properties in the state might be more hesitant because they want to make sure they are protecting their existing turf, and there’s a question as to whether they are more comfortable with engaging with the online sphere in the same way others are. 

“Another concern that I think started at the beginning, there was the question as to how do you properly identify someone to make sure that they are who they say they are when they go online.

“I think that was a question more in the nascent days of the internet. Nowadays you can originate a bank loan, originate a mortgage online – the ability to KYC customers online is as good, if not better, than in person at a property. I think that was something that early on was a whole fad that people were concerned about, but I don’t think that is the case anymore.”

Why should I watch it?

To hear unique insights into the development of the US sports betting sector and of the importance of understanding the impact of taxation on the industry.

Where can I see more?

Source: Americans for Tax Reform YouTube Channel

‘Taxation on sportsbooks a key issue’ for US operators