Virginia Sports Betting Bill Sent to Conference Committee

Virginia Sports Betting Bill Sent to Conference Committee

Lawmakers in Virginia can have a tough time hashing out the difference between them related to the tax status of legalizing sports betting in the state. The only way out is to create a conference committee for the purpose.

Why does Virginia need a Conference?

The committee has become essential for lawmakers as the 40-member state Senate recently voted unanimously to throw out the House substitute of the Senate Bill 36.  Speaking at the Senate floor on Tuesday, Sen. Louise Lucas said that they still have some technical amendments that should be worked out before a bill is approved. The date of the first meeting of the Conference Committee has not been planned yet.

Virginia Sports Betting Bill Sent to Conference over Tax Differences

The biggest point of contention between the two parties is tax. The Senate bill proposes a tiered tax structure for casinos. According to the Senate bill, the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of the casinos should be taxed at 27% for the first $150 million. For the next $150 million (i.e., between revenues of $150 million and $300 million), they will pay a tax of 31%. Any revenues after $300 million will come with a 40% tax.

The House suggests differently

The House of Delegates substituted a House version of the casino bill. The measure they approved on Friday creates two categories of casinos. The first are those that have an investment of anywhere between $250 million and $350 million. These casinos will pay a 15% tax on annual AGR of the first $150 million. The tax rate for revenues between $150 million and $300 million will be taxed at 20% while any AGR exceeding $300 million will be taxed at 28%.

The second category is of casinos that have an investment of more than $350 million. For these casinos, the first $200 million will be taxed at 15% while the next $200 million (between $200 million and $400 million) will be taxed at 20%. If the revenue exceeds $400 million, the tax rate would be a flat 28%.

The new legislation calls for new casinos in five cities- Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville, Bristol, and Richmond. However, each of the cities will have to conduct a local referendum before they are allowed to host a casino in their community.

Casino groups are trying to get the support of local governments to help launch their new casinos. For instance, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe is aiming to build two new casinos in Richmond and Norfolk. Rush Street Gaming is eyeing a Portsmouth location while the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Hard Rock International want to build casinos in Bristol.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.