After the official approval of the betting regulations, The Virginia Lottery announced that it’s reviewing 25 applications for mobile sports betting licences, submitted during the second half of October. According to law, the Lottery must issue at least four and no more than twelve permits, which means that authorities will dismiss more than half of Virginia’s licence applicants.
Strong interest in Virginia’s market
According to Virginia’s statute signed by the General Assembly, the cap of twelve permits does not include applications related to professional sports franchises with a headquarter in Virginia. The cap contains the applications previously submitted by casino gaming partners selected by the governments of Bristol, Portsmouth, Danville and Norfolk. This way, the Lottery gives an advantage to applicants who can attract investors and open new job opportunities.
Virginia’s Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall is confident that the review process they currently run will result in a successful program that protects consumers and companies. The impressive level of interest by the national and international sports betting operators validates the state’s efforts to achieve appropriate, responsible balance in the legalised sports betting regulation programme.
NASCAR and WynnBET recognised the potential
Two weeks ago, NASCAR and WynnBET which form the digital gaming department of Wynn Resorts, announced sports betting partnership, pointing on Virginia as their first stop. They also hope to launch in Tennessee in the upcoming months. We’ve reported just recently that NASCAR formed an exclusive, responsible gaming partnership with the American Gaming Association (AGA). With this partnership, NASCAR would contribute to tailoring the responsible wagering content through AGA’s campaigns.
Having all this in mind, WynnBET was formally applying to become a legal gaming operator in Virginia. Some of the biggest sportsbook apps like FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM were expected to apply for Virginia licences. Pending approval from Virginia’s regulators, WynnBet will become the official online sportsbook of two racing venues in the state. Both racetracks will host four NASCAR Cup Series in a year, the most of any country in the US.
Massachusetts casino operators urge lawmakers to take control
Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, the number of sports betting applicants is being handled differently. The existing casino operators are currently lobbying state legislators to restrict sports betting licences to land-based casino licensees. However, despite the comments, there’s an enthusiasm for the possible arrival of the Boston-based DraftKings.
Local media outlets reported that Penn National Gaming and Wynn Resorts which operate with land-based casinos had filed several complaints to lawmakers. There, they claim that companies which contribute to the growth of the State’s revenue, assume the legitimate risk and incur costs should be the only ones allowed to offer betting activities.
Executives from land-based casinos said that each licensee should be allowed to partner with an online sportsbook. However, they don’t think that sportsbooks which operate exclusively online should be given a gaming licence. Their concerns are that if those books were given a licence and market access without a partnership, they could devalue the upstanding brick-and-mortar industry.