Virginia Sports Betting Update – Early 2021 Start Date

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07/26/2020
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Despite sports betting now being officially legal in Virginia, it seems the regulators will need to tweak the rules and regulations a little before launch and require another month or two to get it exactly right.

As reported last month, the safe passage of the twin sports betting bills HB 896 and SB 384 might have allowed for the first legal bets to be placed as early as late November or early December 2020. However, the Virginia Lottery Board (VLB) has had to reschedule some of its early meetings due to the restrictions surrounding the ongoing global pandemic, All in all though, its full steam ahead with the Lottery Board hoping to get going in time for the Super Bowl in early 2021.

Updated Virginia Sports Betting Regulations

Virginia’s sports betting regulations are beginning to take shape and there has already been some early movement on what the industry might look like coming out of the first VLB meetings.

Virginia and the 15% tax that the state appears set to impose on the industry could see the Old Dominion state potentially generate $43 million in taxes annually should it be successful in reaching its estimated $328 million in annual revenue.

Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall made a point of calming many of the nation’s leading sportsbook operators when he announced that the state of Virginia would not follow the lead of neighboring Tennessee in imposing regulations that would require all prospective sportsbook operators to maintain a 10% hold on all revenue generated via sports betting;

We’re still working through a lot of those operational details but I think it’s safe to say we won’t be doing that in Virginia,” Hall said. “There was some controversy when Tennessee proposed [the mandatory hold.]”

As sports betting margins are quite often razor thin, sportsbook operators might have to adjust their pricing and pass it on to their new clients in order to meet any potential mandatory hold. That could possibly result in making the Old Dominion state’s legal sportsbooks; “less competitive than what a customer can already find on an unregulated, offshore sportsbook,” Hall concluded.

Virginia Sports Betting & College Sports

Also debated recently by the VLB have been the proposed regulations that should allow sportsbook operators to offer online and land-based sports betting on collegiate teams, however, the law appears set to exclude competitions involving in-state teams, just like those laws in New Jersey and some other states.

On the other hand, unlike New Jersey, it appears that Virginia Sports Betting customers will however, be able to place wagers on collegiate events that take place in the state, as long as they do not involve a local team. This measure is meant to provide positive betting and revenue outcomes for the local market should the state host an NCAA Tournament, such as College Basketball’s March Madness’ Final Four for example.

In another positive move specifically pitched at the deterrence of match-fixing in Virginia sports betting involves the exclusion of collegiate prop betting markets.

The Virginia State Sports Bettors Bill of Rights

Virginia, just like New Jersey before it, is seeking to codify and make its mark in legal sports betting circles. Without any fanfare, Virginia has claimed a unique first becoming the only state so far to codify a “Sports Bettors’ Bill of Rights,” by the VLB recently outlining the standard and acceptable requirements for licensed sportsbook operators regarding consumer complaint processes and consumer protection standards.

Importantly, Virginia’s laws represent the most comprehensive and straightforward legislative effort to date looking to protect and empower sports bettors. Now that’s industry protection we love!

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