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Virginia Lawmaker Ready to Introduce Sports Betting Proposal

Publish: 13.11.2018
Virginia could be the next state to make wagering on sports legal, as local lawmaker revealed he was working on a proposal that would legalise betting on professional and college sports.

Speaking about his plans in a recent interview, delegate Marcus Simon said he was preparing a bill aimed at legalising sports betting in the Old Dominion.

It should be noted that Virginia was the first state to legalise daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, back in 2016.

Virginia Lawmaker Ready to Introduce Sports Betting Proposal

2019 Could Be the Crucial Year

If everything goes as planned, this proposal could reach the General Assembly by the time the next legislative session starts in January. Simon estimates the bill could get the necessary support by next July.

He said that the legalisation of betting could sound appealing to many in the state’s legislature, especially since such a move would be a great opportunity to increase revenues and bring more money to the state coffers.

At the moment, casino gambling is not allowed in Virginia, whose residents are forced to take their gambling activities to neighbouring states where gambling is not prohibited. According to Simon, Virginia is losing millions of dollars on a yearly basis because of this. The best example of how the state is losing substantial sums of money each year is the MGM National Harbor casino in Maryland, opened two years ago, which is one of the favourite destinations for gamblers from Virginia.

For Simon, the lack of casinos in Virginia doesn’t represent an obstacle for legal sports betting. According to him, sports books could use the existing horse racing and off-track betting options and be combined with them. In addition to this option, Simon stated wagering online could be very popular among gamblers in Virginia, especially bearing in mind the fact there were no casinos in the state itself.

A Long Journey Ahead

Speaking about the chances this proposal has in the General Assembly, Simon said the bill could pass all the obstacles by July next year, although he believed it would face certain problems in the legislature during the next legislative session.

Simon expects certain opposition among his fellow legislators and added he wouldn’t be surprised if the whole matter got postponed for another year. Nevertheless, he stated the proposal would mark the beginning of a process that would, in the end, result in the legalisation of sports betting.

Apart from this one, Simon is preparing another proposal that will be focused on player protection. The goal of this piece of legislation will be to offer basic consumer protection to bettors, whilst ensuring their money will be protected.

Everything changed back in May when the US Supreme Court made a historical decision to repeal PASPA, effectively ending a 25-years old federal ban on sports wagering. This move allowed the states to decide by themselves whether they want to make betting on sports legal or not.

So far, of Virginia’s neighbouring states, only West Virginia have made sports betting legal.

The Mountain State launched sports betting late in August, with two sports books in operation at the moment, while two more are scheduled to open doors to customers by the end of the year.