Legalizing Sports Betting in Virginia
With the growth of internet gambling, sports betting has become increasingly popular. Gambling as a recreational activity has grown tremendously over the last ten years. Many areas have legalized sports betting while other localities, such as Virginia, still prohibit the activity. Although Virginia technically allows online gambling, individuals are not permitted to wager a large sum on Virginia sports games.
Virginia legalized sports betting back in 2021. At that time, only the residents of Virginia and New York were permitted to bet on sports betting online. The law did not allow online gambling at brick and mortar casinos; only local mobile casinos were permitted to do so. However, in 2021 the Virginia State Gaming Commission created a position of executive director for online gaming. At that time, it was believed that this would eliminate the need for licenses at all casinos, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Virginia is one of fourteen states that voted to legalize online gambling, but most of the others (including Connecticut) passed legislation that allows internet gambling but does not allow it in the state. In 2021, the Virginia legislature passed a resolution in support of legalizing sports betting, but the legislature never made any efforts to legalize it. The General Assembly passed a sports betting bill, which included an outright ban on bonuses and regular prize increases. Additionally, no annual increase in lottery jackpots is permitted.
According to the Gambling Control Commission, all licensed casinos must allow lottery players to place bets on Virginia games. They can hold the lottery by using one or more of their licensed casinos or by forming a limited liability company (LLC). No new limits can be placed on an already existing Limited Liability Company. If an individual chooses to form his own LLC instead of using one of the already-licensed casinos, he must obtain a written permit from the Virginia Department of Taxation and Commerce.
Because of the lack of public reporting requirements and because of the anonymity associated with online betting sites, it is easy for people to enter false information on the odds at a site they are unaware of. Potential customers who are unaware of the games being offered may unwittingly place wagers with inaccurate odds or fail to report their activity to the state lottery. Many states have taken measures to reduce these problems, and recently adopted bills that require state lottery and casino commission to inform the state’s Office of the Attorney General about any activity made in violation of the law. Unfortunately, this still leaves an enormous loophole through which fraudulent operators can take advantage of online gamblers. It is easy for a would-be fraudulent gambler to convince a website user that the odds at a given site are unfair, when in reality it is not.
Virginia is home to numerous colleges and universities, which provide the in-state gaming population with an endless supply of potential customers. There are many college sports betting sites that offer a variety of different options for gamblers, including baseball, football, basketball, hockey and volleyball. In addition, there are other options such as European and international sports betting, horse racing, and the Virginia Lottery.
As recently as two months ago, it seemed that there were very few hurdles standing in the way of legalizing in Virginia, but recent news reports indicate that the outlook is no longer so bright. Currently, the Senate has voted to pass a bill that would allow for casinos in Virginia to compete with online gambling, and also makes other changes that could affect the way that in-state residents wager their money. The House has already passed a version of the bill that will be sent to the governor, but is expected to face significant resistance in both chambers. The differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill could mean that the legislation will never make it out of committee in the House, or that the Senate will again require back up from Governor Terry McCauliffe (D Gloucester) in order to pass. The House also appears to be concerned about some of the negative press that the legislature has garnered due to some proposed changes to the Virginia Constitution, which could also lead to a lengthy fight over the fate of the legislation.
Despite all of this, many Virginians have welcomed the opportunity to partake in this exciting new trend that many are calling “legalized sports betting in Virginia.” In fact, this trend seems to be growing in popularity. For now, the legality of Virginia online sports betting remains to be seen, but the number of people betting online appears to be growing at an exponential rate. It is too soon to tell how things will hold in the end, but for now, the trend is a clear one.