Two bills that could legalise some types of sports wagering in the US state of Virginia have secured approach in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The two bills will now go forward to the office of Governor Ralph Northam before they can become law.
House Bill 896, which focuses on legalising both mobile and online sports betting, came through the House on Sunday, on a 59-35 vote, having passed the Senate on Saturday. Meanwhile, House Bill 4, which permits the opening of five land casinos in the state, has also been passed, by 60 to 35. The legislative session in the state, which was due to end on Saturday, was allowed to continue in order to ensure that both bills could go forward. If Gov.Northam signs them, they will be law later in the year.
HB 896 requires market regulations to be in place by September 15, with licences set to be given out 60 days following the agreement of the regulations. Under the terms of the Bill, the Virginia Lottery would have responsibility for the regulation of sports betting, and for awarding licences. There are likely to be between four and 12 licences issued, with each costing $250,000.
HB 896 also imposes a 15% tax on adjusted gross revenue for all licence holders, a figure that has been adjusted downward from the initial proposal of 20%. Customers will be able to bet on professional but not college sports, and only official league data could be used for live betting.
The bill also orders the Lottery to set up a voluntary exclusion scheme which would make it possible for individuals to ask to be excluded from all betting activity.
At the same time, HB 4 would allow the launch of five casinos in the state, each with its own sportsbook, which each casino entitled to apply for a single online license. Each of the land casino licences would attract a of $15 million.