Virginia Legislature to Open Sports Betting Legalization Debate Next Year - VIP Casino Bonus Bonus Offers, Free Spins + Casino Bonuses

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Virginia Legislature to Open Sports Betting Legalization Debate Next Year

Casino News Daily
Virginia Legislature to Open Sports Betting Legalization Debate Next Year

Two Virginia lawmakers to introduce sports betting bills during next year’s legislative session

Virginia has made first solid indications that it is ready to get on the sports betting bandwagon as the practice is cementing itself as the hottest US gambling industry topic. Local news outlet the Virginia Mercury reported on Tuesday that two state lawmakers have announced plans to introduce sports betting bills during the Virginia Legislature’s 2019 session, which starts in January.

State Sen. Chap Petersen revealed yesterday that he would introduce a legislation to legalize wagering as part of a plan to reduce tuition fees at Virginia’s community colleges. Under his bill, titled Virginia Sports Gaming Tuition Reduction Act, state cities and counties would have to hold a referendum in order to decide whether they want sports betting services to be provided on their territories.

Betting on college games would not be allowed under Sen. Petersen’s piece. Tax revenue from legal wagering services would be split between localities and the state’s community college system, it became known on Tuesday.

Another Virginia legislator said yesterday that he would table a sports betting bill once the new legislative session is under way. Del. Mark Sickles explained that under his piece, legal sports betting would be taxed at 15% on revenue. According to initial estimates, wagering services could generate up to $41 million. The money would be used to fund research activities at Virginia’s universities.

Under Del. Sickles’ bill, the Virginia Lottery would be tasked with regulating and overseeing the state’s sports gambling industry. There will be five sports betting licenses for grabs, if that particular legislative piece is enacted. Del. Sickles’ proposal would ban wagering on Virginia college and university games, but would allow “wagering on collegiate athletic tournaments in the commonwealth if allowed by the sporting league.”

Commenting on his plan to introduce a sports betting bill, Sen. Petersen said in a Tuesday statement that he sees no reason why betting should be kept illegal when neighboring states are “already moving to legalize.” West Virginia went live with legal sports wagering in August, while North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky lawmakers are all expected to discuss the matter next year.

In a separate statement, Del. Sickles said yesterday that with his legislation, he aims to provide a “framework for an open, transparent, and responsible market for legal sports betting.”

A Handful of Gambling-Related Topics to Be Discussed

The apparent start of a sports betting debate in Virginia should surprise no US gambling aficionado. The state was the first to legalize daily fantasy sports back in the spring of 2016 after the activity had taken center stage in prolonged and heated debates and legal actions in multiple states around the nation.

Bearing the above in mind, Virginia could certainly become a target for a concerted effort for the legalization of sports gambling. Companies like DraftKings and FanDuel have already gained foothold in Virginia with their daily fantasy sports product, but they have also been expanding their sports betting operations across the states where the practice is legal to secure a chunk of the lucrative wagering market. As a result, they can have a particularly smooth entry into Virginia when and if the state moves to legalize sports gambling.

It should also be noted that sports betting would not be the only gambling-related topic to be discussed in the Virginia General Assembly next year. A business group in Bristol is lobbying for the legalization of casino gambling in the state in order to be able to build a $150-million casino resort at the site of the vacated Bristol Mall, arguing that a development of this kind would have a “transformative” impact on the city, the region, and the state as a whole.

And while the Virginia Legislature has traditionally been against any form of gambling expansion in the state, it seems that following the latest gambling developments around the nation, it might have adopted a little bit more relaxed stance on betting and casino gaming.

Earlier this year, lawmakers authorized the new owner of the shuttered Colonial Downs racetrack to add historical horse racing machines at the property as well as at up to ten off-track betting facilities around the state.

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The post Virginia Legislature to Open Sports Betting Legalization Debate Next Year appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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