Virginia’s Sports Betting Bill Gets Senate Approval

Virginia's Senate in session.
  • Sen. Louise Lucas’ bill gets Senate Committee approval
  • Casinos to pay 10% tax on gross revenue
  • More tax will be paid to the State Local Casino Gaming Proceeds Fund to be established at a later point
  • Casinos will have to pass a city-wide referendum before they can open in their chosen locations

Virginia is gearing up for sports betting. The Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology has passed a sports betting bill introduced by Democrat Sen. Louise Lucas. This is a continuation of the efforts that were announced in December.

Senator Louise Lucas’s Bill Gets the Go-Ahead

Democrat Sen. Louise Lucas proposed a plan for the legalization of the sports betting industry in Virginia, which has got approved by the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology.

This is big, and it enables Virginia to start edging closer to the ultimate goal, which is to introduce its own sports betting facilities across the state. There’re a few wrinkles to settle first, though. From Connecticut, to Kansas, to Kentucky, states have been on the move, pushing ahead with their own efforts to see their industries through – and now Virginia is all good to go, well – almost.

According to SB1126 (a bill unifying two previous bills, i.e. SB1503 and SB1706) legalizing the industry would be used as a way to curb unemployment and bolster the state’s coffers. The document states that in order to qualify, a city will need to meet a mix of social & economic criteria:

  • Unemployment rate of 4%
  • Poverty rate of 20%
  • Population decline of 7% between 1990-2016

The bill is also pre-emptively targeting the issue of tribal gaming, allowing tribes to operate in any city with population of 200,000 or above. The cities will also have to have already exempted 24% of all real estate from the local property tax.

All Games Coming to Virginia’s New Regulatory Climate

The bill offers details about the industry in full. Spanning 22 pages, all games will be part of the gaming climate, including slots, table games, and most importantly – sports betting. However, the measure to introduce casino will not rest solely with lawmakers.

A city-wide referendum would have to be held before a casino can open. Once a property has been set up, it will have to pay 10% tax on its Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR). The revenue will the be divvied up by several state funds, including:

  • State General Fund – the reminder of non-allocated funds
  • Virginia Public School Construction Grants Program and Fund – 50%
  • Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund – 1%
  • State Local Casino Gaming Proceeds Fund – to come later

The last hurdle ahead of the bill is to clear the Senate Finance Committee. Given the solid support among lawmakers, SB1126 is on its way to completely change the game for gaming in Virginia.

All things considered, Virginia is truly surging towards good times for its betting industry, which is only now spreading its wings.

Aran Malik

“Magic Malik”—as we like to call him—is not only a tech whiz but a wizard when it comes to getting obscure news hot off the press so we know exactly what’s happening and can explore and report it back to our growing and loyal readerbase.

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