Virginia closer to legalising sports betting

Simona Boshkova | Published 23 Apr 2020, 9:51 a.m.

There have been many initiatives on legalising sports betting in the United States. We’ve already reported on the new sports betting licences in Colorado, where sports bettors will be able to wager starting from May 1st. Also, sports betting has officially become legal in Washington, even if its launch will be delayed.

One of the latest US states looking forward to legalising sports betting is Virginia. There, the Governor asked for the sports betting bill to be amended before it can be passed. It is expected that the state lottery will be regulating sports betting in the state. On Wednesday, Virginia lawmakers approved sports betting bill amendments by Governor Ralph Northam and the state is now closer to legalising sports betting.

Virginia to have sports betting in casinos in five cities

Many people were surprised to see that Virginia is closer to legalising sports betting, given the fact that the state didn’t permit gambling beyond horse racing. However, the state will soon have online and mobile sports betting, as well as casinos in five cities. It is expected that Northam’s signature on the bill will take place in the following two weeks, if not by the end of this week. With that, Virginia will become the second state to legalise sports betting this year.

The Virginia sports betting bill that was approved on Wednesday authorised casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond. However, it would probably take longer for sports betting at these casinos to start operating because each city has to hold a referendum for approving the casinos.

The Virginia Lottery is obligated to oversee sports betting in the state and has to set up guidelines for regulatory processes and approving sportsbooks. It is expected that all of the huge sportsbook names will enter the market.

Key amendments of the Virginia Sports Betting Bill

One of the key amendments the governor wanted on the bill was adding the state’s two NASCAR tracks. According to Mark Sickles, a sponsor of the House bill, the two NASCAR tracks could have a joint marketing relationship with a licensee and provide sports betting via mobile apps.

Another key sports betting bill amendment was a $50,000 background check fee for principals of sportsbooks seeking to do business in Virginia. With this, the Lottery would work with sportsbooks on the fees during an open regulatory process and would have 90 days to review licence applications.

Some of the other amendments include taxes sports betting revenue at 15%, licencing fees for operators at $250,000 for an initial three-year permit and $200,000 for three-year renewals, 12 online licences and five more for casinos, and legalisation of betting on college sports outside the state.

Tennessee is now accepting sports betting applications

Last week, we reported that the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation approved sports betting regulations with a hold cap at 90%. During a conference call, the board stated that the licence application forms will be available online in a couple of days. According to many experts, the hold cap is extremely high and will lead to a huge competitive disadvantage for legal sportsbooks in the state.

Now, the Tennessee Education Lottery started accepting applications for new mobile sports betting licences, and all documentation is available on its website. The documents for application are divided into four categories - sports gaming operator, supplier, vendor, and operator and supplier.

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