VA Sportsbooks Bill To End In-State College Ban Alive In Senate

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There is still a chance that VA sportsbooks could take bets on in-state colleges, though House support seems unlikely.

HB 1127 from Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg was shot down in a House General Laws subcommittee Tuesday afternoon. Sen. Monty Mason‘s companion legislation, however, advanced Wednesday.

The General Laws and Technology committee reported SB 576 and referred the bill to the Finance and Appropriations committee by an 11-4 vote.

SB 576 would only authorize betting on spreads and totals bets for in-state colleges like Virginia and Virginia Tech. Prop bets on college events are not allowed under the law authorizing sports betting in Virginia.

VA sportsbooks support effort to end ban

Unsurprisingly, sportsbooks want locals to have the right to bet on their favorite teams.

It is also harder to win bettors back from offshore sportsbooks and keep close watch on the integrity of college sports without offering those markets, DraftKings Government Affairs Counsel John Mohrmann told the House subcommittee. Mohrmann was representing members of the Sports Betting Alliance:

“If we want to make sure integrity stays in college sports, the best way to do that is in a legal betting market,” Mohrmann said.

Mason struck a similar chord when presenting his bill to the Senate committee:

“Quite candidly, I could [sic] care less about the additional revenue. It is all focused on driving this above ground and not keeping it behind closed doors as it has always been.”

Knight: gaming bills passed with ban promised

Del. Barry Knight took issue with the bill because of past promises made in order to legalize casinos and sports betting in the state.

“The agreement that we had when we were counting the votes is not to allow sports betting on college sports in Virginia to try to keep a little bit – I hear the gentleman talking – but a little bit of arm’s length from the situation.

“And that’s kind of how we anticipated things going two years ago and I’m just going to stick with what I agreed to two years ago.”

The bill then was tabled by a 6-2 vote.

It is notable that Sen. Jeremy McPike, also involved in that gaming legislation like Knight, voted for SB 576 in committee.