Virginia Set to Legalize Sports Betting in 2019

Virginia is in the way to legalizing sports betting, following the footsteps of its neighbours in West Virginia, which introduced its indigenous sportsbooks in September 2018.

A lawmaker in Virginia, Marcus Simon, is drafting a legislation to legalize the sports betting in there. This motion is expected to be introduced at the General Assembly, in January 2019.

Is Realistic is the Approach?

Virginia has always had a strict stance on gambling. Casinos are illegal in the state, but some people believe that sports betting should be allowed.

In Virginian horse racing and betting are popular pursuits, making a way by which sports betting is implemented – both on-track or at off-track facilities. Virginia could also look at establishing online sports betting.

There are five states New Jersey, West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Delaware that have opened sportsbooks after the Supreme Court’s decision to cease the ban on it in May. Others states are also contemplating to opening sportsbooks, most importantly Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

What Next?

If this bill is sanctioned, the sports betting in Virginia will become legal by July of 2019. Although it may take a few more years for the actual implementation of the legislation; the General Assembly may initiate a study to understand what potential effects the introduction of sports betting would have on the state.

Such a study would take note of the positive impacts like tax revenues, employment figures, along with the downsides like increases in crime and problem gambling. All these impacts have already been witnessed in states that are considering opening up casinos in their jurisdiction. However, Simon is dedicated to at least getting the bill started on its way.

A second bill for this issue is also in the pipelines, which would talk about the rights for sports bettors and would put in place a number of rules and guidelines for consumer protection. This would build confidence and encourage the operators to provide sports betting services and ensure that a fair game is offered.

It is expected and has been witnessed that there is a strong possibility of Virginia legalizing sports betting in the next year or two.

Changing Face of Gambling in Virginia?

For years Virginia has been reluctant to embrace gambling; now its face is changing fast. In addition to the legalization of sports betting, there are now attempts for the approval of a resort casino also in the state.

It is expected to be introduced in Bristol at a cost of about $150m. Bristol shares border with Tennessee, so it is purposefully established to drive players from both states. The local community is supporting this initiative.

If this resort casino is sanctioned, it is expected to create many employment opportunities in addition to money flowing into the local mainstream economy. It will also pay tax to the state government thus adding new avenue of a fresh round of revenues for the local government.

The location for the planned casino resort is the Bristol Mall, which is right no vacant as it was closed in 2017. It is about to cover a 25,000 sq. ft. area for sports betting along with a hotel equipped with 1,000 rooms and entertainment hubs.

This project is being led by two high-profile businessmen in the state, Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacy, who are planning to invest their own capital for the entire project.

As per estimation, it may create almost 2,000 jobs in the local area. The Virginia General Assembly is yet to approve this before it goes ahead.