If it doesn’t rain, it pours, and that seems to be the case for sports betting legislation in the State of Virginia. In the past week alone, no less than three bills relating to sports betting have passed the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology.
On January 24th, Democrat Senator Louise Lucas introduced SB 1126 which seeks to legalize casino games such as table, dice and slot games in the state. The bill proposes that casinos be restricted to cities that have an unemployment rate of at least 4% and a poverty rate of 20%. Each eligible city will be issued with one casino license. Sports betting will also be allowed, although there will be no provision for online gambling or wagering. Venues will need to pay a 10% gross revenue tax, and local governments will also get a piece of the pie.
This week, two more bills cleared the Committee.
SB 1238, which was introduced by Senator Chapman Peterson, seeks the establishment of the Virginia Sports Betting Department. Only land-based sports betting will be allowed, thereby barring online and mobile betting.
A three year license, initially costing $5,000, will be issued to operators. Renewing the license will cost $1,000. In addition, operators will have to pay a 10% tax on adjusted gross revenue and the Sports Betting Department will hold onto 2.5% of that amount to defray the costs of administering the program.
The second bill introduced this week, SB 1356, also calls for the legalization of sports betting in Virginia. Senator Frank Wagner’s bill plans to rename the Virginia Lottery Board the Virginia Lottery and Sports Wagering Commission, and will allow consumers to bet on all sports except on those where teams are based in Virginia. It also allows betting on college events.
Both bills will now make their way to the Virginia Senate Finance Committee where they will be debated.