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Virginia Considering Sports Betting Legalisation

Publish: 24.12.2018
Following the US Supreme Court’s ruling that ended the federal ban on sports betting, a number of states moved forward and allowed wagering on sports, while many are still getting their legislation ready for such a move.

The latest US state to make a move towards legalising sports betting is Virginia. The lawmakers in the Old Dominion have recently introduced one bill, while another is expected to be presented in the coming period.

The sports betting market in Virginia would be quite different from other regulated markets in the United States, as there are no casinos or racetracks operating in the states, nor are there any existing betting facilities whatsoever.

If wagering on sports gets approved, it will be overseen by the Virginia Lottery, that’s for sure, while this independent agency would be able to sign partnership agreements with other states in relation to sports betting.

Virginia Considering Sports Betting Legalisation

The First Proposal Focuses on Online

The first bill has been submitted by Delegate Mark Sickles, and under its provisions, a total of five remote-only licenses for sports betting will be issued for periods of three years.

Sickles’ proposal, known as House Bill 1638 doesn’t include any in-person wagering, and instead introduces sports betting platforms – such as a website, application, or any other platform that can be accessed through the internet, mobile, or wireless. Via these technologies, players would be able to place their bets.

Each license would cost $250,000, while operators would be taxed at 15%, with 2.5% going to the state lottery as compensation for overseeing the market.

Delegate Sickles said the new legislation provided a framework for an open, transparent and responsible market for legal sports betting. He pointed out it would protect consumers while generating revenue to allow Virginia to compete for major research projects that created jobs and helped to diversify the state’s economy away from over-reliance on federal spending.

The proposal doesn’t clearly say whether wagering on sports will be allowed at any of the 5,000 Virginia Lottery’s retail locations spread across the state. It does say that approximately 95% of the tax coming from sports betting will be spent on funding various university research projects, through the Major Research Project Sub-Fund.

According to analysts at Oxford Economics, such a market could bring an annual betting handle of more than $5 billion, along with $380 million in yearly net revenue.

The Second One Has No Limits

In the meantime, Chap Petersen, Virginia Senator, is getting his proposal ready. Called the Virginia Sports Gaming Tuition Reduction Act, the bill intends to bring more benefits to community colleges.

But, most importantly, Petersen’s proposal doesn’t limit sports betting to online platforms.

In a recent interview for the Virginia Mercury, Petersen said he wasn’t interested in people sitting in their parents’ basement with their pyjamas on betting on a ‘Monday Night Football’ game. He stated he wanted his proposal to be part of a social entertainment package where people would get out and spend money.

If Virginia legalises sports betting, it may face tough competition, as Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington D.C. all want in on the action.