The Virginia House Subcommittee on Gaming has approved an amendment, HB1847, that means the state’s proposed land-based casinos would not count against the limit on sports betting licensees in the state.
Virginia legalized sports betting in April 2020, after state lawmakers amended a bill to factor in changes requested by Governor Ralph Northam. The market is expected to open soon, with a series of affiliates, payment providers and data suppliers also receiving authorisation last week.
When the market opens, online betting will be legal, while retail bets may be taken at sports venues. Land-based casinos may also take bets, but as these were only legalised in 2019, none are currently open.
Earlier this month, Delegate Mark D Sickles, the author of last year’s sports betting bill, put forward HB1847. The amendment makes it clear that a sports betting permit issued to a land-based casino operator will not count against the maximum of 12 permits that may be issued.
This means that in practice, the Virginia market would be open to 12 online operators plus at the five casinos which may be built in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond following the 2019 Act.
This amendment was assigned to the House General Laws Committee’s Gaming Subcommittee, which voted 7-1 in favor of approval.
The amendment originally also clarified that “youth sports” refers to an event where a majority of participants are under the age of 18 or where at least one participant in the event is still in high school or an earlier education level.
However, this clause was removed in the substitute version approved by the subcommittee.
The bill may now be considered by the full General Laws committee.