Virginia sports betting is a reality, after legislation was approved by both the House and the Senate in early March and the governor signed off in April. Gov. Ralph Northam sent the bill back to legislature in April with some recommendations – including one major suggestion that could have made things very costly for operators.
The bill originally carried a $250,000 licensing fee, good for three years and then followed by a $200,000 renewal, along with a 15 per cent tax rate. What Northam recommended be added is a $50,000 background check for anyone deemed a “principal” for an operator. Essentially defined as an owner, executive or management, that background check could easily be applied to 10-20 people within one company, tacking on an extra $500,000-$1M dollars in initial cost.
While the governor’s recommendations delayed the timeline for Virginia sports betting being officially legalized, officials now believe it won’t happen until very late in 2020, probably in December. The rules supporting the industry must be written and approved first and that process was ongoing in summer-fall of 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes and now the wait for mobile betting within state boundaries is on.
Where can I bet at Virginia sportsbooks?
In addition to sports betting, HB4 would also legalize the creation of casinos within Virginia, which currently does not have any retail gambling. The bill added that up to five sports betting licenses would be allowed for potential casinos, along up to 12 online-only licenses.
The bill also allowed for one license to a “major league” sports franchise, widely thought to be the NFL’s Washington Redskins (who have a practice facility and offices in Ashburn), but Gov. Northam also sent a recommendation that NASCAR be included in that license – which would allow tracks such as Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway to potentially launch a sportsbook.
DFS games are already in play in Virginia, with all the leading operators offered within the state.
What about mobile sports betting apps in Virginia?
All potential licenses in Virginia would permit a mobile component, so there are potentially 18 online sports betting retailers available in the state. Until it is passed to law, it is not known who or where they will be, or what partners will be involved.