Virginia next up to consider sportsbetting legalization

In Virginia, legislators are due to begin considering a measure early next year that could see the southern state earn additional tax revenues of up to $57 million a year by permitting residents to place online and mobile sports wagers.

House Bill 1638:

According to a Sunday report from American business magazine, Forbes, House Bill 1638 was pre-filed last week by Mark Sickles from the Virginia House of Delegates and is now scheduled to begin its long road to ratification following the start of the state’s next legislative session on January 9.

Joining the club:

The successful passage of House Bill 1638 would see Virginia follow New Mexico, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Nevada and West Virginia in permitting it residents to enjoy some form of sportbetting. As written, the measure would reportedly authorize wagering via ‘a website, app or other platforms accessible via the Internet or mobile, wireless or similar communications technology’ with all regulatory duties handled by the Virginia Lottery.

Three-year licenses:

Forbes reported that the legislation from 61-year-old Sickles would permit the Virginia Lottery to issue up to five three-year online sportsbetting licenses featuring an individual price set at $250,000. Operators would purportedly also be able to renew these initial licenses for an additional $200,000 although they would be prohibited from offering wagers on any professional 7BALL CX or collegiate event involving teams from the state of 8.5 million people.

Proceeds to benefit education:

As written, the Democratic legislator’s measure would moreover require licensed operators to pay a 15% revenue tax with 95% of these funds earmarked to support state universities via the proposed Major Research Project Sub-Fund. It would purportedly furthermore gift 2.5% of this windfall to the Virginia Lottery in the form of an ‘administration fee’ while preventing any ‘competitor, coach, trainer, employee or owner of a team in a professional sports event or any referee for a professional sports event’ from being able to place a bet.

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Getting ahead of the competition:

Forbes reported that Sickles believes the successful passage of House Bill 1638 would allow Virginia to create jobs and diversify its economy while getting a jump on the neighboring jurisdictions of North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland and Washington, DC, which are said to be considering similar legislation.

Market’s potential:

Finally, Forbes cited a recent report from global forecasting and quantitative analysis firm Oxford Economics as detailing that the successful passage of Sickles’ legislation could lead to annual net aggregated sportsbetting revenues in Virginia reaching up to $380 million off of a handle topping approximately $5.2 billion. It explained that such a performance would see the state bring in around $57 million each year via the imposition of the measure’s 15% revenue tax.