US – AGA welcomes new laws to repeal federal excise and head taxesBy Phil - 27 July 2020
The American Gaming Association (AGA) has supported bipartisan legislation Reps. Dina Titus (NV-01) and Guy Reschenthaler’s (PA-14) move to introduce new laws to repeal federal excise and head taxes.
The Internal Revenue Code requires regulated sports betting operators to pay a 0.25 per cent federal excise tax on all wagers, in addition to a $50 annual tax (head tax) for every employee engaged in receiving bets. These taxes accounted for less than $33m in federal tax dollars in 2019. Sportsbooks operate with a very low margin even in the lowest-taxed jurisdictions. For example, Nevada sportsbooks’ revenue is typically 5 percent of the total amount wagered, before accounting for taxes and operator expenses. AGA research found that consumers want to wager legally but are still confused about which options are safe and regulated. Educating consumers about their legal options is critical to bringing bettors into the legal, regulated market. Mr. Miller encouraged Congress to repeal the excise tax in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
President and CEO Bill Miller said: “The federal excise and head taxes levied on legal US sportsbooks generate little meaningful revenue for the government. Instead, they place legitimate businesses at a significant competitive disadvantage against illicit gambling operations which skirt taxes and licensing fees. Though originally enacted in the 1950’s as a tool to curb illegal gambling, these antiquated federal taxes now give illegal operators a leg up.
“To absorb the unnecessary burden of these taxes, legal sportsbooks are forced to offer worse odds and payouts or reduce investment in promoting legal betting channels to the public. Furthermore, the head tax serves as an impediment to hiring at a time when providing jobs is critical.
“I’m grateful to the Congressional Gaming Caucus’ Co-Chairs Reps. Titus and Reschenthaler for introducing this legislation today to provide regulated operators with meaningful relief as they recover from the COVID-19 sports shutdown. Eliminating these taxes is a long overdue step to enable a legal, regulated environment for sports betting that will better protect customers and generate much-needed revenue for state and local economies.”