The Virginia House Gaming Subcommittee has approved an amendment, HB1847, which means that state-proposed land-based casinos will not be considered in relation to the limit for state sports betting licensees.
In Virginia, sports betting was legalized in April 2020, after lawmakers amended the bill to take into account changes requested by Governor Ralph Northam. The market will open soon, as a number of affiliates, payment providers and data providers received authorization last week.
When the market opens, online betting will be legal, while retail betting can be made at sports venues. Land casinos can accept bets, but being legalized only in 2019, none are currently open.
Earlier this month, Delegate Mark D Sickles, author of last year’s sports betting bill, introduced HB1847. The amendment clarifies that a sports betting permit issued to a land-based casino operator will not be considered for a maximum of 12 permits that can be issued.
This means that, in practice, the Virginia market would be open to 12 online operators, plus the five casinos that can be built in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond under the 2019 Act.
This change was attributed to the Games subcommittee of the House General Laws Committee, which voted 7-1 in favor of the approval.
The original amendment also clarified that “youth sport” refers to an event in which the majority of participants are under the age of 18 or in which at least one participant in the event is still in high school or at a previous level of education.
However, this clause has been removed in the substitute version approved by the subcommittee.
The bill can now be examined by the General Committee on General Rights.
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