A bill that would legalise sports betting in Virginia has continued to progress through the state’s legislature, while a second, competing bill has been rejected by the Senate.
HB 896, proposed by representative Mark Sickles, passed the Finance and Appropriations Committee in the state Senate yesterday (25 March) having already cleared the House. The bill, which was only introduced last month, is progressing quickly with the current session due to close on 7 March.
The bill would legalise mobile sports betting in Virginia, and would direct the Virginia Lottery to regulate the vertical.
The regulator would issue licences within the state and determines that a minimum of six and maximum of 10 three-year licences – each costing $250,000 – are to be issued.
HB 896 would impose a tax of 15% on a permit holder’s adjusted gross revenue. This figure has come down from the 20% included when the bill was first filed.
Betting would be allowed on professional but not college sports, and is prohibited for those under 21 years old. HB 986 requires that only official league data can be used for in-play betting.
The bill directs the Lottery to establish a voluntary exclusion programme, which would allow individuals to request that they be excluded from engaging in betting activity.
HB 896 progressed through the House on 10 February and has now cleared through two Senate committees, having been passed unanimously by the General Laws and Technology Committee last week. It must still clear a full Senate vote and return to the House before being signed by the Governor.
Another betting bill, VA SB384, was rejected by the Senate yesterday, having previously been cleared by the Senate and House. The House substitute bill for SB 384, which did allow betting on college sports, was defeated by 36-3.
A legislative study published last year suggests mobile sports betting revenue in Virginia could approach $400m per year at maturity.