Virginia Eyes Early 2021 Start For Sports Betting

After the state Lottery Board formally approved a regulatory structure established by the General Assembly in its sports betting legislation adopted earlier this year, Virginia is one major step closer to entering the US sports betting gold rush.

The law authorises a minimum of four and a maximum of twelve licences for internet-only sports betting sites, with additional favoured consideration being extended to applicants who are affiliated with a major league team headquartered in Virginia or who play extensively.

Virginia Lottery Board Chairman Ferhan Hamid: “We continue to be committed to building a regulatory structure around sports betting that is transparent, responsible and fair to consumers and athletes.

“Ultimately, our goal as the ‘referee’ of sports betting in the Commonwealth is to ensure a level playing field for providers and for Virginia consumers who choose to place a bet.”

Betting on most major league and professional sports would be allowed under the law, but not on games involving Virginia college and university teams. Consumers would be able to place bets on professional sports, certain college sports, and other sporting activities, as well as on individual athletes’ success statistics.

License applications will be approved from 15-31 October 2020, with the law providing the Lottery with 90 days from the submission of a completed application to authorise or reject the issuance of a licence. That means approved mobile platforms could begin offering Virginia’s first legal wagers on sports early in 2021.

Virginia Lottery executive director Kevin Hall said: “We have received and evaluated several hundred comments and suggestions submitted by citizens, sports betting and casino operators, and most of the major professional sports leagues, including the NFL, MLB, NBA and the PGA.

“A lot of helpful feedback was provided during the public comment period, and the updated regulations approved by the Lottery Board today incorporate many of the suggestions from stakeholders and citizens.”

The Lottery initially requested written feedback from sports leagues and sportsbook operators on a regulatory structure in June, and the first draught regulations were posted online for public comment starting July 15 through September 9.