Virginia has made another step towards the legalization of its sports betting industry. Using existing legislation to establish a detailed bill to guide placing wagers on sports competitions in the state.
Virginia Clears One Senate Hurdle – Sports Betting on the Cards
Virginia still has some catching up to do.
In December, its sister state of West Virginia introduced its first mobile sports betting. Sleeves rolled up, Democrat Senator Louise Lucas has successfully introduced his bespoke SB1126, a legislation building on the good practices established in two previous bills, to name the SB1503 and SB1706.
As good things would have it, SB1126 has managed to clear the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology, with the Senate Finance Committee now readying to examine the document. It all seems promising, though and Sen. Lucas can pat himself on the back, as Virginia seems quite likely to win this bet.
However, there’re a few provisions in the SB1126 that are quite interesting and different from how most other states have gone around legalizing their own sports betting industries. The bill requires host cities to meet several criteria, including:
- Unemployment levels
- Local preferences
Put simply, for a casino property to be eligible to open, there is a set of pre-determined criteria, such as unemployment rate of at least 4%, a 20% poverty level, and population of at least 200,000 people. This alone won’t suffice.
Virginia Will Allow Casinos to Build on Per-City Basis
Casinos will have to get the locals’ approval through a city-based referendum organized by lawmakers, which means that casino will have to win the good fortunes of more than one person. This makes the search for the sweet spot of Virginia’s industry to-be a bit too complicated for starters, but not as much as to dissuade contestants.
Tax levels are rather accommodating, too, with casinos only paying 10% of their gross revenue. However, an additional tax added to a future fund, the State Local Casino Gaming Proceeds Fund, will be introduced later on. So far, tax money will go to several main funds:
- The Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund
- The Virginia Public School Construction Grants Program and Fund
- The State General Fund
Of these, the Schools Fund will get the largest share, with 50% of all tax proceedings. Another 1% will be allocated to curbing & treating gaming addiction, and the rest will be sent to the general fund.
With the now pending review by the Senate Finance Committee, SB1126 is as good as in the books. It would be interesting to see how the state will handle the legalization of its industry on per-city basis after all laws have been voted at the end.