Virginia Proposed Sports Betting Regulations Look User-Friendly

Virginia Proposed Sports Betting Regulations Look User-Friendly

Virginia is an important step closer to getting legal sports betting underway, and if the proposed regulations are indeed adopted, it appears the market will be good for consumers.

The Virginia Lottery, which will set the regulations and run sports betting in the state, set up proposed rules and opened a public comment period on Wednesday to push the reality of Virginia gambling forward.

Virginians can go to the Regulatory Town Hall website to leave an opinion for the next 60 days.

The document on the Virginia Lottery website details the state’s voluntary exclusion program, the process for permit applications, a consumer protection program and a “Sports Bettor’s Bill of Rights” as well as a general notice on their draft for sports betting regulations. Each applicant for a sports betting license must pay a $250,000 fee.

Virginia appears to be taking note of the failures of the Tennessee Education Lottery in that state and emulating marketplaces governed by gaming boards. That means more competition in the market and better products for the consumers.

Additionally, the Virginia Lottery made it clear it is not considering a payout cap similar to what Tennessee implemented. Again, that’s welcome news. A "guaranteed hold" of, say, 10 percent would likely create odds worse than what bettors would find in unregulated, offshore markets and put legal sportbooks at an unfair disadvantge.

Virginia’s Timetable for Sports Betting

It has been clear for some time that Virginia’s timetable for sports betting leans toward a 2021 launch. The state could start issuing betting licenses in October and begin taking legal sports bets in January, according to a report from Washington D.C. radio station WTOP.

In April, lawmakers approved changes that Gov. Ralph Northram had asked for in the state’s sports betting bill. Betting on college sports is legal, just not on Virginia college sports, which means any NCAA events in the state can be wagered on, just not contests involving a school located in the state. Prop bets on college events are banned, though, as is betting on Olympic sports.

Lottery Approves 4 Casino Proposals

The Virginia Lottery also gave initial approval to four of the proposed casino projects that are up for referendums in November, according to Portsmouth NBC-TV affiliate WAVY.

In Wednesday’s board meeting, Lottery executive director Kevin Hall told the developers behind the proposed casino projects in Danville, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Bristol that they had been approved for ballot initiatives. Voters in each city must vote in favor of the casino in their jurisdiction before any individual project can go forward.

“Pre-certification should not be viewed as an endorsement of a specific proposal or of any city’s choice of a preferred casino partner. It also does not represent a guarantee that a casino license ultimately will be awarded,” Hall said, according to the WAVY report.

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