The bill sponsors that helped legalize sports betting in Virginia last year are a step closer to fixing a mistake in their legislation.
Both Sen. Jeremy McPike and Del. Mark Sickles submitted bills this year to clarify the cap on mobile sports betting licenses. SB 1254 and HB 1847 make it clear that the five allowed casinos should get mobile sports betting licenses that do not count against the mobile-only cap of 12 licenses.
The bills appear to have the support necessary to pass this year as both were handily passed by their respective chambers. HB 1847 is pending a hearing in the Senate General Laws and Technology committee. SB 1254 hasn’t been assigned to a House committee yet.
The new legislation would expand the VA sports betting industry to as many as 17 mobile sportsbooks. The actual number of sportsbooks could be higher, as that figure doesn’t include any that launch through partnerships with major league sports franchises.
Virginia sports betting market still cloudy
FanDuel Sportsbook took many by surprise when it announced it would launch its Virginia sportsbook – and the state’s market in general – Jan. 21. That’s because the Virginia Lottery has handled the entire licensing process behind closed doors.
Virginia sports betting law states the lottery’s executive director must award at least four and at most 12 mobile-only sportsbooks. How many are awarded is based off director Kevin Hall‘s feel for what creates the best economic outcome.
So far, it appears just two of those licenses – BetMGM and DraftKings Sportsbook – have been awarded. Since the Lottery has shared nothing more than the fact 25 sportsbooks applied for licenses, we don’t know how many more to expect.
More information could be on its way, though. The Virginia Lottery meets Wednesday for an update on the launch of sports betting as well as initial regulations for the state’s recently-legalized casino industry.
Who is already licensed in Virginia?
As of Tuesday morning, there were five approved sports betting operators listed on the Virginia Lottery’s website:
- BetRivers (through Rush Street‘s casino license)
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook (through a partnership with the Washington Football Team)
- William Hill (through Caesars‘ casino license)
All but William Hill are live and accepting bets.