Virginia moves closer to expanding gambling, sports wagering

Virginia is a step closer than ever to expanding gambling and sports wagering. A casino gambling bill is heading to the State Senate for the first time ever.  The news comes amid reports that the Washington Redskins – after lobbying Maryland lawmakers – now appear to be seeking a sports betting license as part of a possible new stadium in Virginia.

Sen. Jeremy McPike of Dale City, introduced a bill, SB 384 which aims to fully legalize online sports betting. The bill calls for the Virginia Lottery to regulate that market, requiring entities to apply for a three-year permit and pay an application fee of $250,000. Permit holders would have to apply for renewal every three years, a step that would include a $200,000 fee.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports gambling, professional sports teams and leagues look on it of a cornerstone of any future stadium deals. The possibility of Redskins getting gaming license, hinges on proposed bills that Virginia lawmakers are considering legalizing online sports betting in this 2020 legislative session, which would also allow casinos.

The new casinos would be located in Richmond, and several other locations in southern Virginia. However, in debating the issue some State Senators want to protect existing gaming entities such as Virginia’s lottery and horse racing tracks like Colonial Downs.

While the move to a full Senate vote is a major step forward for sports gaming and gambling in Virginia, the proposal is far from a done deal. Any measure passed by the Senate would also need to receive a majority of votes in the House of Delegates and be signed into law by the Democratic Governor Ralph Northam.