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Virginia sports betting could be here this year or next, as the state legislature passed a bill legalizing it in overtime of the state’s session on Sunday.
The bill still requires the signature of Gov. Ralph Northam to become law. But on Sunday, a bill passed both the House and the Senate.
The timeline for Virginia sports betting is still a bit of an unknown. Regulations must be finalized by Sept. 15. Licenses can be issued 60 days after those regulations are ready.
The prospects of the bill passing were in flux all week but had started positively trending as it headed into the weekend. That was despite the fact that the House actually voted the bill down once on Saturday before it was amended before Sunday’s final vote.
It took a reconvened committee to get a bill that both chambers would accept. But the agreed-upon substitute is far from perfect with qualities from the original House proposal that could lead to a limited market.
The committee agreed to ban all betting on Virginia college sports. That means any game that includes a college or university from Virginia won’t be available for wagering on in the state.
There can also be no prop bets on any college sports at all.
Both bills called for the use of official league data to settle in-play betting, so that stipulation made it to the final bill. Operators can use any data source to settle end-of-game bets.
The final bill also took the House’s stance on licenses, which means the lottery will issue at least four to potentially 12 online-only licenses. The lottery will decide how many licenses to award based on what is economically best for the state.
The total market could have as many as 18 online operators. Any of the five casinos that would be authorized under HB 4 with an investment of $250 million or more will get preferred consideration for an online sports betting license.
A professional sports team from the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL or Major League Soccer that relocates to Virginia would also get preferred consideration for a license.
Operators will pay $250,000 for a three-year license and $200,000 upon renewal. Revenue will be taxed at 15%.