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D.C. City Council votes to legalize sports betting

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D.C. City Council votes to legalize sports betting

WASHINGTON (AP) -- City lawmakers in Washington have voted to legalize sports betting, making the nation's capital the first U.S. jurisdiction without casinos to authorize sports books.

The D.C. Council voted 11-2 on Tuesday to authorize betting on professional sports at the city's stadiums and arenas, private businesses like restaurants and liquor stores, and within the city limits on a mobile app.

Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser supports the bill, which needs her signature to become law. It would also need to survive a review by Congress, but with Democrats taking over the House in January, the law from the Democratic-dominated city is almost certainly safe. Supporters hope bets could be taken in the city within months, although there is no firm timetable.

In May, the Supreme Court struck down a law that banned sports betting in most U.S. states. Since then, several states have authorized betting on sports. The closest place to Washington with legal sports betting is a casino in Charles Town, West Virginia. Sports gambling is also legal in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Because Washington lacks casinos, the D.C. Lottery would oversee sports betting, an arrangement that makes the nation's capital an outlier. Athens, Greece-based Intralot is the city's current lottery vendor. The lottery would sell licenses to sports books at arenas and stadiums for $250,000 over five years, and retailers would be able to purchase a two-year license for $5,000. There is no cap on the number of licenses.

Casino industry groups had a measured reaction to the bill's passage, saying that handing over control of sports gambling to the lottery could stifle competition.

"While the vote today is progress, we remain deeply concerned about giving the lottery a virtual monopoly in the mobile market," Sara Slane, a vice president at the American Gaming Association, said in a statement. "Predictably, this will result in less investment and innovation, to the detriment of consumers and the ability of a nascent legal marketplace to compete with the accessibility and convenience offered by many established illegal wagering operations."

Operators would be taxed at 10 percent of revenue, and city officials have estimated that legal sports gambling will bring in $92 million over four years. Critics said that figure was overly optimistic, particularly if neighboring Maryland, which has several casinos including the massive MGM National Harbor just over the city line, legalizes sports betting.

Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss this weekend's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,

The 44-year-old Johnson is the first driver in any NASCAR series to test positive and the news cast a shadow over the historic NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader races coming up Saturday and Sunday. There was no indication any races would be affected.

Hendrick Motorsports said Johnson will not return until he is cleared by a physician. He has no symptoms, but was tested today after his wife tested positive.

Johnson earlier Friday held a Zoom session with reporters to discuss Sunday's race and an upcoming test of an Indy car on the road course at the fabled venue. He will now miss that test, as well as what was supposed to be his final Brickyard 400. Justin Allgaier will replace him Sunday in the No. 48 Chevrolet.

Johnson is scheduled to retire from full-time NASCAR competition at the end of the season and was trying to tie Jeff Gordon and Michael Schumacher as the only five-time winners at Indianapolis.

Johnson has made 663 consecutive Cup Series starts -- the longest streak among active drivers -- and is currently 12th in the standings, 63 points inside the playoff picture. NASCAR's rules state a driver must be symptom free and have two negative coronavirus tests in a 24-hour span to return.

Johnson could potentially also miss the Cup race at Kentucky and the All-Star race at Bristol. Next week's test of the road course at Indy in Scott Dixon's car has also been scrapped.

NASCAR was one of the first sports to resume competition from the pandemic shutdown and has completed 11 Cup races since its May 17 return. The sanctioning body does not test for coronavirus but participants are required to do a temperature check as they enter the facility.

Drivers have been told to isolate at the track and there is very little interaction beyond radio conversation between the competitor and his crew.

Although Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske both said they've had positive tests from shop-based team members, Johnson is the first driver. Earlier Friday, Brazilian sports car driver Felipe Nasr said he had tested positive and will miss Saturday's IMSA event at Daytona International Speedway.

Johnson earlier Friday discussed the Indy car test scheduled with Chip Ganassi Racing, which he said was the first step in determining if actual races are in his future. If he's any good, he said, he would be open to racing all 12 street and road course events on the IndyCar schedule.

Johnson has long said safety concerns would keep him from racing on IndyCar oval tracks, but Friday he offered a surprisingly softer stance about the Indy 500. IndyCar this year unveiled its aeroscreen windshield designed to protect the drivers from debris as they sit in the open-air cockpits. Saturday will mark just the second race with the device, but it appeared problem-free last month on the oval at high-speed Texas Motor Speedway.

“Their safety on ovals has dramatically increased this year with the windscreen. So, I’ll keep a close eye on things there and see how the safety level looks,” Johnson said. “I’ve always wanted to race the Indy 500. I’d have to do a lot of selling to my wife to get that pass, but my true desire right now is to just run the road courses.”

Johnson has his eye on the street course race in Long Beach, California, a race that was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic but is one of the most storied events on the IndyCar calendar at a track just a couple hours from his native El Cajon.

“When I was a kid growing up, the closest IndyCar racing for me was at Long Beach so one of my hopes is that I am able to race at Long Beach,” Johnson said. "I hung on the fence a lot as a kid watching and dreaming. .... There’s a lot of sentimental value with that race and I hope to race there.”

He is stuck in a three-year losing streak but Hendrick Motorsports has been dramatically improved this season and Johnson has been competitive. He has also been actively prepping for a whirl in an Indy car and had been scheduled to test with the McLaren team before the pandemic.

“It’s a test, it’s a tryout and it’s a two-way street. Two-way tryout for the team to look at me and for myself to look at a team,” he said. "If I’m about four seconds off the pace, then that’s probably a quick sign that I don’t need to be in one of these cars. If I’m within a certain amount of time and I have a good feel of the car, then for me, I feel like that’s an important first step that I need to know that I can be competitive.

“I do not want to go race in any series and not be competitive," he said.

In The Loop: Mike Evans ready for Year 1 with Brady, CeeDee Lamb's offseason workouts

In The Loop: Mike Evans ready for Year 1 with Brady, CeeDee Lamb's offseason workouts

First up in our look around the sports world on this Friday, Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was spotted putting in the work in his backyard this week. Perfecting his route running skills for his new QB Dak Prescott while sporting his new teams helmet.

Next up, we’ve all seen a ton of uphill workouts coming from our favorite NFL stars but nothing like this before. Check out Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby doing the most with full blown sprints, side shuffles you name it!

 
Lastly, Tampa Bay Buccaneers veteran wide receiver Mike Evans is making sure he’ll be ready for when his new QB targets him in 2020. He's been doing all sorts of drills this offseason to ensure he'll remain among the top pass catchers in the game.