December 23, 2020 4 min read


Virginia Embraces Sports Wagering before Super Bowl

Virginian legislators have given the green light to sports wagering and will likely permit sports betting before the Super Bowl. The Virginia Lottery is going to be the one to approve twelve sites to wager on various sports.

Virginia Legalizes Sports Wagering, Allowing Only Online Bets

Virginia is one of the 19 states that are just now legalizing sports betting. The 2018 Supreme Court ruling spearheaded by New Jersey permitted all of the states to give a green light to betting. 

It has been much anticipated by Virginians with punters in the state expected to place $400 million in total sports bets in 2021, and for this amount to grow exponentially in the coming years. Virginia and Tennessee are going to be the only two states that will approve only online wagering.

Kevin Hall, Virginia Lottery Director, has stated that they have received 25 provider applications but they can accept only 12. However, Virginia is likely to approve more than 12 applicants and allow home-based professional sports organizations to have an exclusive pass and be approved regardless of that number.

For example, if the Washington NFL Football team applies, they will be approved and added regardless of the other 12 vendors. Hall also said that if any other Virginia sports club would like to partner-up, they will go through the same procedure. He added that the final approval for operators will be in January and when that is settled, license holders can start accepting wagers. With the NFL playoffs in January, the operators will likely launch as fast as they can.

Sports betting is another step towards a future in which Virginia allows more gambling. There are four cities which have approved construction of casinos that will open in the next few years.

Virginia rules-out College wagers and the Olympics

Certain restrictions also come with the new rules for sports betting in Virginia. By the state’s law, Virginia college games will not be eligible for betting events. There can be no bets on the Olympics, although some sites vouched for that and the state regulators’ refusal was explicit.

The legislation’s sponsor, State Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-Prince William also stated that he is very happy with the regulatory framework and complemented the regulator’s achievements in a state with no previous casino betting history.

Virginia’s New Law Protects the Consumers

After complaints from operators, Virginia has added an amendment which is the Sports Bettors’ Bill of Rights. Users will have more transparency on how the providers’ platforms operate. Bettors will be able to see if and what employees, athletes and team affiliates are prohibited from betting on games. 

As per the original legislation, companies had to provide the information used to come up with the odds for a particular selection. Operators disagreed, arguing that their way of calculating the odds is proprietary and revealing it could hurt their business or allow competitors to gain an advantage. Describing the particular information used was unnecessary as there was no way to know the outcome of a sporting event, be that a football game or something else.

Virginia’s Gambling Tax Rate Is Set at 15%

Different states have different gambling taxes ranging from 6.75% to 50%. Virginia’s tax rate will be 15%. The money will go to the state’s general fund.  According to Hall, in the first year, the state will receive around $4 to $5 million and he predicts that in the years to come to those numbers can go up to $55 million a year.

Gaming Association lobbyist Jessica Feil stated that the best tax is “in the low teens”. She also said that although Virginia has more vendor applications than it can accept, she believes that a higher tax rate can drive operators away.

Having written for numerous iGaming media outlets including the likes of SiGMA and E-Play Africa, Adeleye has a broad insight into the gambling industry. He follows the African sector closely and has a strong networking relationship with gaming operators across the continent. He now helps to deliver global headlines for our audience at GamblingNews and is also a consultant on gaming licenses in Africa.

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