Virginia Finally Gets A Sports Betting Bill

Virginia Finally Gets A Sports Betting Bill

After much deliberation and several changes to the original proposal, the Virginia Senate and House have finally passed the state’s sports betting legalization bill. News of the bill’s vote was confirmed this Tuesday.

Bill awaiting governor’s signature

As it has passed both arms of the legislature, the bill now rests on Gov. Ralph Northam’s table who will sign it into law. The bill’s fate was uncertain at the beginning of the week and it had to undergo and amendment before being presented at the overtime session of the legislature.

Virginia Finally Gets A Sports Betting Bill
People wait in line to bet on the NCAA college basketball tournament at the Westgate Superbook sports book Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The original bill allowed betting on college sports, including in-state teams. However, bill sponsors aimed for a compromise and gave the state a legalized sports betting market. In the House, bill sponsor Mark Sickles agreed to ban betting on college sports. In the Senate, bill sponsor Jeremy McPike allowed the ban on Virginia teams.

The new bill limits the markets suggests the use of official league data and prohibits gambling on in-state college teams. It requires operators to pay $250,000 to receive a three-year license which will cost $200,000 upon renewal. Their revenue will be subjected to a 15% tax. The lawmakers haven’t defined a timeline for the bill yet but regulations have to be finalized by September 15. Once regulations are in place, licenses can be issued after 60 days.

What does the bill include?

The bill removes college sports from the purview of the legal sports betting market. The bill also supports the use of official league data for settling on-play bets. However, operators are allowed to use data from any source to settle bets at the end of the game. The bill is focusing extensively on creating a highly competitive online wagering market. Note that other states that have legalized the bill have seen a marked rise in online gambling, with online revenues typically being higher than retail revenues.

The state of Virginia has also taken this fact into account by allowing the state lottery to distribute 4 to 12 online-only licenses. The lottery can decide the number of licenses depending on their impact on the state’s economy. Note that the bill provides a preferential consideration for online betting licenses to five authorized casinos that spend at least $250 million. It will also provide similar preferential treatment for licensing to any Major League Soccer, NHL, NFL, NBA or MLB teams that choose to relocate to the state.

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.