- Virginia sports betting has officially been made legal now that VA Governor Ralph Northam has signed off on three bills.
- The Virginia Lottery has until September to draw up rules and regulations, but the bills will be enacted into law July 1.
RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia sports betting will now be enacted into law beginning July 1, 2020, after the recommended amendments requested by Governor Ralph Northam were approved April 22.
All three bills, House Bill 896, House Bill 4, and Senate Bill 384 will take effect this summer. However, VA HB 4 will need to be put to a public vote that will take place in November 2020 because it deals with a change to Virginia’s Constitution.
Legal Sports Betting In Virginia
Legal sports betting in Virginia will see both retail and mobile sportsbooks with as many as 20 platforms open to residents.
Five casino style facilities will have sports betting lounges and as many as three professional sports venues can expand with sports gambling areas as well. On top of that, there will be 12 mobile and internet sportsbook operations allowed.
The Virginia Lottery will oversee the rules and regulations of the industry as the main regulator. It will be up to them to draw up finalized rules and regulations for licensure and the sports betting market in the Commonwealth by September 15.
It is the hope that this fine print can be done prior to the start of the NFL year so that sports betting businesses in Virginia will be able to launch during a prime time like the beginning of the football season. Sportsbooks worldwide see an influx of engagement for American football wagers.
With the amendments that were approved last week, NASCAR and their events will now be included within the Virginia sports betting industry.
The two race car tracks in the Commonwealth, Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway will be able to market their business together under the new law but this does not allow them to receive their own licenses to open up a sports betting area.
They can apply but are not assured approvals. However, they may partner up with an operator that is licensed in order to endorse their events.
The other big amendment came in the form of FBI background checks for anyone that wanted to get involved with the sports betting business.
If a person holds more than 5% ownership of a sportsbook, they are required to fork over $50,000 for an official FBI background check. This is one top of regular licensing fees.
The amendment came with some issues by potential operators as the bill could run them as much as $1 million in background checks alone on top of what is already required to pay for licenses because there could be a number of owners for one sportsbook.
A licensing fee of $250,000 is required for a three-year license and a tax rate of 15% will be taken out of sportsbooks for all revenue generated by sports wagering.
Live in-game betting will need to use official league data in order to offer this type of wagering to patrons under the new laws.
The five retail locations could also apply to have a mobile application, however, that would be subtracted from the 12 allotted mobile licenses within the legal documents which would then allow for only seven strictly mobile sports betting sites in the Commonwealth.
In The End
Virginia will now have legal sports betting for their residents to participate in. While most sporting events will be open for wagers there will still be restrictions on collegiate sports.
No college events taking place in Virginia will be allowed to be gambled on nor will any game anywhere in the nation involving a Virginia college team be open for bets.
Outside of that, everything else is fair game. The lottery will be working hard to come up with rules by their September deadline with the bills officially becoming law in July.
The vote in November by the public on VA HB 4 will allow residents to vote for approval of the land-based sportsbook location cities which are set to be Portsmouth, Richmond, Norfolk, Danville, and Bristol.
The legal sports betting industry in Virginia is slated to bring in nearly $90 million annually in revenue for the economy.
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.