Summary: Efforts to see sports betting come to pass in Virginia are moving forward as several lawmakers are deciding to show their support.
Across the United States, efforts are being made to see sports betting come to pass. Several states have already implemented legislation to pass sports betting and are already offering services. Such states include New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi and West Virginia. Since the federal government decided to strike down a federal ban on the activity, states have been able to offer the activity once legalizing the option within their borders. Virginia is the latest state to see news released that legislation is being drafted, however no efforts will be made until 2019 as the year is about to come to an end.
Filing a Bill
Senator Chap Peterson announced this week that he will be filing a bill to see sports betting come to fruition within his home state. The bill created by Peterson will seek to legalize the gambling option as well as create a state authority that will be in charge of regulating the activity. The bill will also see direct tax revenue placed towards reducing tuition costs at the community colleges in the state.
In an interview, Petersen stated that his bill would recognize the reality that sports betting is a reality and the state has already done their work when it comes to daily sports fantasy and that activity is widespread. The bill would take the sports wagering to another level, something that other states are already doing.
Delegate Mark Sickles made a sports betting proposal this week, projecting that the state could earn as much as $41 million via tax revenues. The money could then be used to fund research projects at the universities in Virginia.
With Petersen’s bill, college betting would not be allowed. This could be frustrating to fans of Virginia college sports, but Petersen tries to put any opposition to rest by stating that this caveat would save them money in the long run.
Petersen feels that sports betting will be legal in every state within the US in a five year time frame. His efforts are to get the concept out there in Virginia and hopefully see the gaming option come to pass. A key issue in the state will be to determine where sports gambling will go. Currently an off-track betting site is being set up in New Kent County, set to feature machines that offer wagering on historical horse races.
The General Assembly is also supposed to be considering a piece of legislation that would allow a casino to be created in Bristol. For Petersen, his bill would not require a sports betting operator to have a casino. Established tracks like Colonial Downs would be able to do it automatically while off-track betting sites will be able to offer services as well.
Local areas would be able to license a sports betting facility if the city or county government decides to pass an ordinance and approves the option via a voter referendum.
The Virginia Lottery has stated that they are interested in being in charge of sports betting if legalized. Petersen stated that he would like to see sports betting separate, however other lawmakers want to see the lottery become involved with a new industry.
For Sickles, his bill would create a 15% tax on the revenues from sports betting and the industry would be overseen by the lottery, ensuring that a trusted brand while the private sector can continue to do well.
It will be interesting to see which path is taken and if any of the sports betting bills are able to move forward in the state.