Virginia Sports Betting Bill Called Into Play

Virginia has finally passed a sports betting bill which will allow land-based casinos to open within the state. Regulated sports betting will be permitted within certain facilities.

SB 1126 guidelines and requirements

This bill, introduced by Sen. Louise Lucas, passed the Senate Committee on General Laws at the start of 2019 and headed to the House in February. The discussion on SB 1126 continued in the Committee on Rules.

Once this bill launches into action, casino games in the state of Virginia will be legalized and restricted to cities which have particular economic aspects. The guidelines will include cities with an unemployment rate at 4% or higher. Poverty rates must be at 20% or higher, and populations in these cities will need to have experienced a decline of 7% or more during the years between 1990 and 2016.

Residents in these cities will be asked to participate in a local referendum in order to approve a local casino. Each of these cities will be permitted the issuance of one casino license. In cities of more than 200,000 residents, where 24% of real estate is immune to property taxes, the city is allowed a tribal casino license.

Those with Virginia casino licenses would be permitted to provide casino games such as slots and table games, along with sports betting. The bill is expected to allow online gambling as well, under the condition that the Virginia Lottery Board would regulate the gambling market.

Taxes and support funds

Casinos would pay 10% of gross revenue as a tax which would funnel to a number of sources. These would include:

  • State General Fund
  • Virginia Public School Construction Grants Program Fund
  • Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund
  • State Local Casino Gaming Proceeds Fund

The last three funds would all be established through this bill.

There have been seven sports betting bills in the 2019 Virginia legislation. Virginia sports fans, the action has finally begun. 

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