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Virginia Sports Betting Bill Postponed to 2025 Legislative Session

Virginia's legislative landscape witnesses significant developments as a sports betting bill faces delay, a Petersburg casino bill progresses, and a Fairfax County casino proposal is deferred, reflecting the complexities of gaming expansion and community engagement.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Feb 12, 2024

Virginia Sports Betting Bill Postponed to 2025 Legislative Session

A significant development in Virginia's legislative landscape emerged as the state's Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee unanimously voted 14-0 on February 6 to defer the consideration of SB 124, a sports betting bill permitting wagers on in-state colleges and universities, to the 2025 legislative session.

Under the current legal framework in Virginia, sports betting on in-state colleges is prohibited. Consequently, some Virginians resort to crossing state borders or utilizing illicit sports betting platforms to place bets on games involving local teams.

Spearheaded by Sen. Schuyler VanValkenburg, the bill aimed to integrate NCAA sports betting activities concerning in-state colleges into the regulated market. VanValkenburg underscored the safety benefits of legalizing gambling and asserted that state coffers would benefit from the ensuing tax revenue.

However, with the committee's decision, VanValkenburg faces a waiting period until the next legislative session before resuming efforts to legalize wagering on in-state teams. Even if the Senate greenlights the bill next year, it must still navigate through the House before landing on Governor Glenn Youngkin's desk for final approval.

 

Key Points

  1. Virginia Sports Betting Bill Delayed: SB 124, allowing betting on in-state colleges, pushed to 2025 legislative session by unanimous vote of Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.
  2. Petersburg Casino Bill Progresses: SB 628 advances as Petersburg may become Virginia's fifth casino location, gaining unanimous committee approval and bipartisan support.
  3. Fairfax County Casino Proposal Deferred: SB 675, exploring a casino in Fairfax County, postponed to 2025 due to community opposition and need for further review.

 

Petersburg Casino Bill Advances Through Virginia Senate

Meanwhile, in a separate legislative move, hopes for Petersburg residents to determine the fate of a prospective casino within their city limits received a significant boost. A bill (SB 628) seeking to designate Petersburg as the fifth casino location in Virginia cleared a crucial hurdle as it passed through the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee with a resounding 15-0 vote on February 6.

The bipartisan sponsorship of the bill by Senators Lashrecse Aird, Louise Lucas, and Barbara Favola underscores a shared optimism regarding its passage. Advocates envision the legislation reaching Governor Youngkin's desk, signaling Petersburg's potential ascension as the next gaming hub following previous rejections of casino proposals in neighboring Richmond.

Fairfax County Casino Proposal Deferred to 2025

Conversely, prospects for Fairfax County's inclusion as a potential casino host have been put on hold until the 2025 legislative session. Following a 13-2 vote during the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee meeting on February 6, SB 675, which aimed to explore the possibility of establishing a casino in Fairfax County, was postponed.

The decision to defer the Fairfax County casino proposal aligns with mounting opposition from local communities. State Senator Jennifer Boysko, a vocal critic of the proposal, cited widespread discontent among constituents, emphasizing the need for additional deliberation and community input before advancing the legislation.

As Virginia grapples with the complexities of gaming expansion, these legislative maneuvers reflect the intricate balancing act between economic development, public sentiment, and regulatory oversight shaping the state's evolving gambling landscape. With diverging paths for sports betting and casino legislation, the future of gaming in Virginia remains subject to ongoing legislative scrutiny and public discourse.

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