US congressional bill aims to scrap 0.25% federal handle tax
US House representatives and congressional Gaming Caucus co-chairs Dina Titus and Guy Reschenthaler have introduced a federal bill – HR7790 – to repeal the US’s 0.25% excise tax on sports wagering handle.
The tax was introduced in 1951 and does not apply to horse racing or sports betting operated by state lotteries, while operators eligible for the tax must also pay a $50-per-head employee tax. The tax raised $13.1m from Nevada alone in 2019 but Titus – of Nevada’s first district – said the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “couldn’t answer how the money was being used”.
Titus said the return of sports was the perfect time to address the tax, which she said only served to penalize legal operators, and not illegal competitors.
“Sports are back,” Titus said. “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.