Sportsbetting In Virginia Looking Good As General Assembly Passes New Bill

Published February 27, 2019 by Sol FH

Sportsbetting In Virginia Looking Good As General Assembly Passes New Bill

Only one signature required before the State of Virginia legalizes sports betting and clears a path for land-based casinos to open in the "Mother of States."

Things are looking good for the state of Virginia as the Virginia General Assembly has passed a bill that would essentially allow for legal sports gambling and the possibility for land-based casinos to be established. The only item left on the agenda is a signature by Governor Ralph Northam, which would cement the bill into a new law. Governor Northam should sign the bill as the Senate passed it with a vote of 30-10, and, his house adopted the bill by a 64-27 vote. There was a need to reconsider the outcome, but the bill again saw overwhelming acceptance and was voted on 64-33. 

The bill was introduced by Senator Louise Lucas, a Democratic Senator who has envisioned legal, land-based casinos, but, limited to areas with socioeconomic strains. Substitute Senate Bill 1126 is intended for areas with a poverty rate of 20%, a rate of unemployment of at least 4%, and those with a severe decline in their population of at least 7% over the last twenty or more years.  

The state's tribal communities would also be permitted to establish casinos in cities with populations over 200,000. It would be very much a collaboration with the community as each potential operator would need to present to each local authority of interest and then meet with the local residents to convince them to vote on the casino during a referendum.

What does this mean for online gambling?

The bill does not include any language for online, nor for mobile gambling. Currently, the bill only covers land-based establishments that could include slots, table, dice, and other popular casino games, as well as on-premise sports betting

Senator Lucas and her team had definitely thought about regulation and licensing, for which the Virginia Lottery Board would be in charge. The casinos would operate and be required to pay a tax rate of 13% to 15% of their gross revenue. 

The fastest possible time for the first casino on the ground, pending Governor Northam signs off on the bill, would be around July 2020. 


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