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Virginia Governor Signs Gambling Package Into Law

Summary: Governor Ralph Northam has signed a gambling package into law, allowing online gambling, sports betting and casinos.

After Virginia Legislature passed a gambling expansion bill in the House and Senate, ,Governor Ralph Northam has signed the bill into law. The state is the latest to expand their gambling industry. The Senate voted 30 to 10 to approve the measure while the House was in agreement as well with a vote of 64 to 33.

Expansion

SB 1126 was pre-filed by Senator L. Louise Lucas back in December which was the start of the three months it would take to see the legislation come to pass. Additions were made to ensure that the bill would pass. Players will soon have access to online gambling, sports betting and casino facilities.

One of the additions made was the definition of casino gaming was changed. The words online gaming were added to provide an additional format for gambling in the state. Now that the bill has passed, legislature will have to complete several actions before the expansion will come to pass.

This includes a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission that will deliver a report on the laws involving casino gaming by December 1st. The Board will then use the first half of next year to configure regulations for the implementation of the gaming options. The bill will also have to be reenacted during the 2020 session.

The bill will not be official until the Lottery Board have reviewed the best practices and submit their ideas. Regulators will have to create casino gambling as well as sports betting and online gambling regulations. Once these steps are completed, legislature will then have to choose to re-enact the bill.

Before gambling can begin, referendums will need to be held in locations that qualify for gaming. Areas will have the opportunity to choose if they want to take part in the gaming options or not.

Lottery Board in Charge

What sets the Virginia expansion apart from other states is the state’s Lottery Board is in charge. The group is authorized to offer varying types of gaming. Provisions have been added for casinos, with sports betting and online gambling mentioned only once in the law.

Details involving sports betting and online gaming are limited. Information such as tax rates, gaming responsibility policies and other details have yet to be covered. It is believed that only land-based casino operators will be licensed for sports betting and iGaming.

It is assumed that lawmakers will continue to work on the expansion over the next year to eighteen months. Over the next few weeks and months, the Lottery Board will be busy working on rules and regulations for the new industry expansions.

By approving online gambling, the state becomes the latest in the US to offer the option. Proponents of iGaming are hoping that with the state approving the option and others considering it as well, the market will continue to grow as a whole.

Other states such as Rhode Island are considering online gaming. Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada have all offered some form of online gaming since 2013 and continue to be successful in their endeavors year after year.