VA Sportsbooks Might Become First To Lose Promo Deductions

Written By Matthew Waters on January 21, 2022
VA sportsbooks

Virginia sports bettors might have more betting markets and operating VA sportsbooks might become more expensive if two pieces of legislation pass this session.

The first bill, HB 1103, would limit sportsbook operators to just 12 months of promotional deductions from taxable revenue. Right now, those deductions are allowed in perpetuity.

The second issue, which has support in both the House and Senate, would allow betting on in-state colleges.

Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg and Sen. Monty Mason introduced identical legislation that would remove the prohibition on betting on Virginia colleges.

VA sportsbooks could see promo deductions disappear

Del. Mark Sickles, who helped pen bills to launch and expand sports betting in Virginia, is behind the bill to end promo deductions after an operator is live for one year.

The bill would also completely end carrying over any negative revenue from month to month for tax purposes.

The promo deductions have definitely had an impact on taxes so far. There have been $105 million in promotions deducted from $254.4 million in revenue since the market launched in January 2021.

Just $18.6 million has been paid in taxes by five operators:

  • FanDuel Sportsbook: $11.9 million
  • DraftKings Sportsbook: $3.4 million
  • BetMGM: $3 million
  • Barstool Sportsbook: $244,483
  • WynnBET: $27,764

Compare that to the $38.2 million the state would receive if it applied the 15% tax to gross sports betting revenue.

Study will consider a new regulator

A third bill could lead to regulatory changes in the state, but not quite yet.

HJ 63 and SJ 24 would create a joint subcommittee that would study the “necessity for and feasibility of the creation of a unified gaming commission.”

The Virginia Lottery oversees VA sports betting, as well as the state’s emerging casino industry.

This would not be the first time a state changed sports betting regulators after the market was already live for more than a year. Virginia’s southwestern neighbor, Tennessee, switched out its own lottery operator for an independent regulator as of Jan. 1.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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