The Virginia Lottery has been hard at work developing regulations for the new sports betting industry, and a draft of these regulations is now available to the public. The regulations were released on Wednesday night, and the public is now able to comment on them before they are officially approved.
A Sept. 15 deadline has been set for the official regulations to be turned in, and there will likely be some debate between now and then. The Virginia Lottery worked quickly to release these regulations, and they also have some areas that need to be fine-tuned.
The list of sports betting regulations is extremely long, but some of the regulations are more important than others. Not only were residents in the state awaiting this announcement, but sports betting operators have been waiting as well.
Betting on both professional and collegiate sporting events will be allowed in Virginia, although there is one stipulation. Sportsbooks cannot offer wagers on games that feature teams from the state of Virginia.
Both retail and mobile sports betting will be offered in the state, and the Virginia Lottery will be able to issue up to 12 licenses to mobile sports betting operators. This is an important number as it will allow the state to attract some of the biggest names in the industry.
The tax rate was another big question mark for sports betting operators, and the Virginia Lottery has set the amount at a flat rate of 15 percent. Sportsbooks wanting to operate in Virginia will have to use official league data if they choose to offer live betting.
Residents of the state will be pleased to see that these regulations do not require a minimum hold percentage. The Virginia Lottery was exploring this idea, but they eventually decided against it.
The state of Tennessee included a minimum hold percentage in their sports betting regulations, and it will likely force operators to offer worse odds in an effort to make some money. The regulations that were released on Wednesday night are fair to both future sports bettors and sports betting operators.
Casinos Initially Approved, More Reviews Coming
Not only did the Virginia Lottery unveil their initial sports betting regulations, but they also granted initial approval to four developers that intend to build casinos in the state. These approvals will allow each city the opportunity to place a referendum on the ballots in November.
Even though the Virginia Lottery gave out initial approval earlier this week, there is still a long road ahead for the developers. The Virginia Lottery just wanted to get the referendums on the ballots and give voters a chance to have their say on the issue.
The four casinos will be built in four cities that met specific economic criteria as the state was looking to provide some relief. These plans were initially approved for projects in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. Richmond is the fifth city eligible for a new casino, but the city council is still working to approve a proposal.
If each city passes the ballot referendum in November, then the real work will begin for the Virginia Lottery. The lottery commission will begin more extensive reviews in April 2021, and they will approve emergency casino regulations.
All of the cities are expected to pass the referendums in November as these new projects will provide a huge boost to the economy. Bristol City Council met on Tuesday night and filed a petition for a casino gambling referendum in November.
State lawmakers passed an expanding gambling law in April 2020, and Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill into law after some amendments were made.