Virginia is now looking at two new sports betting bills, SB 1238 and SB 1356, with both pieces of legislation promising to chart a legal course of action for the state’s wagering industry.
Virginia’s Sports Betting Industry and Its Many Bills
Virginia’s seeing a curious influx of proposed sports betting legislation. Last week, we saw SB 1126 make it out of the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology. Proposed by Democrat Sen. Louise Lucas, SB 1126 seems to be the bill that will make it in the long term, with the Senate Finance Committee now having to review it.
Despite the wide acceptance of SB 1126, though, Virginia now has two freshly minted sports betting bills at its hands, to name SB 1238 and SB 1356.
SB 1238 or What’s the Point of Multiple Bills?
There have been states struggling to muster even a single bill. Others, such as New York, have seen bill after bill being killed off, whether by lack of support or overwhelming opposition. Virginia is a different beast altogether. Virginia expects to gain quite a bit by legalizing its sports betting industry, too.
The bills in Virginia are swirling wildly all over the place. The latest arrivals are quite the catch, too. First, SB 1238 is introduced by Sen. Chapman Peterson who wants to see a new regulatory body established. Enter the Virginia Sports Betting Department, Mr. Peterson’s proposed solution.
Mr. Peterson isn’t overambitious in the reach of his bill either, with SB 1238 focusing only on land-based operations, entirely excluding online betting as an option. Licenses would cost $5,000 and be applicable for a period of three years, with the renewal fee costing merely $1,000.
In terms of tax, the rate is fair with only 10%. This is in line with SB 1126’s own tax rates. Unlike the former bill approved by the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology, SB 1238 doesn’t quite have the same restrictive provisions as do the former.
SB 1356 – A Different Look at Virginia’s Sports Betting
Sen. Frank Wagner has a slightly different idea with his SB 1356. He won’t go as far as creating a new regulatory body, but he might just rename the existing Virginia Lottery Board into the Virginia Lottery and Sports Wagering Commission, with the name now aligning with counterparts across other stats where the Commissions dictate the rules.
SB 1356 also focuses on taking care of people who may be indulging in reckless gaming practices, making it a worthy contender, although not bringing anything new to the table. Both bills will be taken up for discussion at a following meeting by the Finance Committee.
It’s indeed curious to see Virginia push out so many bills that, more or less, cover the same basis, bar a few wrinkles. SB 1126 definitely seems to be the most comprehensive suggestion so far, but the provisions for opening a casino in a city might be too complicated to some.
Meanwhile, West Virginia continues to see new operators arrive. To catch to its sister state, Virginia needs a unified front, not reams of repeating legal documents.